How about Some Government Propaganda for the People Paid for by the People Being Propagandized?

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Investigative journalist Michael Hastings recently broke a story on BuzzFeed about an amendment that is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill. The amendment would “legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences.” Hasting reported that the amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon. He says the “tweak” to the bill would “neutralize” two other acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—which were passed in order “to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.” Rep. Mark Thornberry (R, Texas) and Rep. Adam Smith (D, Washington) are co-sponsors of the bipartisan amendment.

Hastings says that “the new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public.” One Pentagon official who is concerned about the amendment told Hastings, “It removes the protection for Americans. It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.” The official added that there are “senior public affairs” officers in the Department of Defense who would like to “get rid” of the Smith-Mundt Act “and other restrictions because it prevents information activities designed to prop up unpopular policies—like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

In a Mediaite piece last week, Josh Feldman wrote of how the US military has been looking for new ways to spread U.S. propaganda “on social media websites for a while now.” Feldman also made reference to an article that was published in Wired last July. In the article, Pentagon Wants a Social Media Propaganda Machine, Adam Rawnsley told of how the DoD “has been working on ways to monitor and engage in ‘countermessaging’ on social media sites like Twitter.”

According to Hastings, the Pentagon already spends about $4 billion dollars annually to “sway public opinion.”

Here’s something to chill you to the bone: Hastings reported that USA Today had recently published an article about the DoD having spent “$202 million on information operations in Iraq and Afghanistan last year.” Well, it appears that the reporters who worked on the USA Today article were targeted by “Pentagon contractors, who created fake Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in an attempt to discredit them.” (Read about that story here.)

One of Hastings sources on the Hill told him, “I just don’t want to see something this significant – whatever the pros and cons – go through without anyone noticing.” The source added that the law would allow “U.S. propaganda intended to influence foreign audiences to be used on the domestic population.”

Michael Hastings:

The evaporation of Smith-Mundt and other provisions to safeguard U.S. citizens against government propaganda campaigns is part of a larger trend within the diplomatic and military establishment.

In December, the Pentagon used software to monitor the Twitter debate over Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing; another program being developed by the Pentagon would design software to create “sock puppets” on social media outlets; and, last year, General William Caldwell, deployed an information operations team under his command that had been trained in psychological operations to influence visiting American politicians to Kabul.

The upshot, at times, is the Department of Defense using the same tools on U.S. citizens as on a hostile, foreign, population.

Is this how we want our tax dollars being spent—to produce propaganda aimed at us Americans to sway public opinion?

SOURCES

Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban (BuzzFeed)

Congress May Reverse Ban On Domestic Distribution Of Propaganda Material (Mediaite)

Pentagon Wants a Social Media Propaganda Machine (Wired)

Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor (USA Today)

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill. The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mark Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State. (Investment Watch Blog)

238 thoughts on “How about Some Government Propaganda for the People Paid for by the People Being Propagandized?

  1. Do you get to burn the American flag? Make your own decision. I was in the U.S. Navy, but I didn’t have to go to war. There wasn’t a war going at the time.

  2. Great article Elaine. It is a scary concept. Now that the journalists are completely in the corporations pocket, why not make it even tougher to get the truth out to the public?

  3. Does anyone believe these are politically controlled policy moves. Of course it was going on prior to the bill Mundt law, at least I think so. It was used to create hate the Hun propaganda effecting our engagement in WWONE.
    The problem is we have our own forums and that is worrisome for them. The use of sockpuppets in social forums is months old isn’t it? I told one that he sounded like Eliza, and he disappeared. Which porves nada.
    OT Can anyone give some info on the NSA facility in Nevada(?)???

  4. This is greatly concerning. I don’t know how successful these congressmen will be but the fact it is instigated is insulting to us. This is just what President Eisenhower warned us about, in the speech where he warned us to beware of the Military-Industrial Complex. I’ve been of the opinion it now encompasses the Political as well.

    This type of legislation is the line crossing toward movement away form “By The People, For The People.” and a political class removed from the public and pursuing its own interests. And, the underhandedness of slipping it in to a defense bill, the true colors are in full bloom.

    Most governments are inept at propaganda. As having been a child of the cold war times I learned to accept the opposite of what came out of Radio Moscow, which I listened to on my short wave radio, as being the truth. (Pravda is Russian for “Truth” incidently)

    Aside from the afront to liberty, the eventual concern is most sheep will believe the propaganda and the gov’t will obtain the skill at a credible delivery. At that time the ability to discern the truth from the BS will be limited.

    Times like that will make me glad I have dual citizenship and can simply leave if my efforts in small measure to help prevent this are not successful.

  5. Darren,

    A big concern to me is that we have so many “journalists” today who help the government spread their propaganda. Judith Miller is but one example.

  6. Elaine,

    Good catch. This bill merely further legitimizes what has been going on for a very long time and in fact seems one of the characteristics of all governments.

  7. Yes, this has been going on for quite some time. It shows how worried the junta is about keeping people in line. As is typical, the illegal will now be transmuted into “legal”. As Glen Greenwald pointed out, the US govt. will be able to say anything it wants about Yemen, but everyone else will be subject to penalties. Interesting, no?

    This govt. is out to crush dissent, to keep people from actual information. You have to ask the question, why are they so afraid of people knowing what is really going on? Why do they need to propagandize everyone, “legally” or illegally?

    The example of Yemen, the US govt. is killing so many civilians. People there are protesting the US govt. for these murders. Yet, we don’t hear about that too much in our newz. Why is that? Why are we in Yemen? Is it because of Somalia’s oil? Is that why this govt. is sending ships? Is it why we are sending in more troops than ever before? Is it why we’ve sent more drones than ever? Why did Brennan just visit there before the EO of silence came out?

    We’ve told Israel we’re ready to bomb Iran? Did we need another base of operations? Is there something in Yemen itself that we want?

    We all could help each other by pointing out when the govt. is lying and trying to understand what is really going on in this nation and the world. I wish that’s what we would do but I fear that govt. propaganda keeps people distracted with false “issues” and “ideas”. The level of ignorance or out right denial of reality in this nation is something which harms all of us. We need to snap out of it and we can only do this by working together by telling the truth and trying to understand what is actually happening.

  8. And people wonder why I like small government?

    Your tax dollars are going to pay for this.

    And you wonder why I want a very low tax rate?

    If government has extra money to pay for this and probably many other stupid things like this, then they are getting way too much money from the people.

    But hey, I guess all you collectivists who are so enthralled with what government can do should wake up and see what they will always do which is destroy individual rights in the name of the greater good.

    Economic control by government will always lead to despotism, get government out of the economy.

  9. Bron, there are some things government does well collectively, SS and health insurance are two. The military industrial complex has to be reigned in before they bankrupt the nation.

    This will be their direct propaganda, State Dept and Pentagon- in order to keep the conflicts going at any cost.

    They never want peace or any chance of peace to break out that would interfere with their bottom line.

  10. Elaine, Mike, Shano: Very true.

    I guess my own sense of nostalgia still clings to the notion a person can go to the press and the press will expose the corruption, sleaze, or other misconduct of the gov’t, corporations, or individuals. Maybe it is from watching “old” movies as a younger person.

    I don’t want to detract from or give the appearance upstaging your excellent and much appreciated article Elaine so I’ll keep this brief. I know exactly what it is like to see a local newspaper be in-bed with the city government. When this happens, it is to a smaller scale of what can happen on a national one. It happened with a city within the county I formerly worked for. City Officials regularly leaked personal information or flat out lies directly to the city newspaper in an effort to lodge personal attacks against those who dared to call the actions of the city into question. I believe the city gave exclusive tidbits to the newspaper for unrealated material to increase the “copy” as “payment” for the newspaper’s printing of the city’s propaganda.

    But, when a citizen attempts to use the press sometimes officials attack them because there is always another medium the citizen can go to if the city improperly influences one of them. I made a public records request for documents in December of 2008 from this particular city to expose to the outside world what corruptions I felt the city was engaging in. The response from the city? The police chief slandered and libeled me in an attempt to what I believe was to get the Sheriff to fire me. I subsequently filed a lawsuit against the city for this and other issues. November of this year will mark the 5 year mark since I began questioning this city’s actions and the battle continues to this day.

    There are only two avenues of recourse and voice the average person is legally provided in our society: The Courts and The Press. Perhaps voting is, but it is limited if effect for the single individual. Using the courts, it is a financially and emotionally draining avenue for the average person and the government has nearly limitless funds to curtail the effort. The Press when acting under its true charter is swift and ubiquitous. It is the court of the people I would like to think.

    One would hope at some point all members of the press would aspire to be the unwavering voice of the truth. That to me is far more heroic than being a stooge of the government.

  11. Bron,

    “If government has extra money to pay for this and probably many other stupid things like this, then they are getting way too much money from the people.”

    I’d say government money wasted in this way–as well as other ways–could be used toward repairing roads and crumbling infrastructure, education, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. Our politicians tell us there is no money for such things–but there really is.

  12. Seriously? They already do this every day, why do they even care if it’s legal or not. The Constitution is already illegal in their eyes.

    Somewhere along the way our country has been hijacked. Our Congressmen (with a couple obvious exceptions) are no longer serving the people they are supposed to be representing. They are stripping us of our rights, poisoning our skies and our foods, and now want to arrest anyone who complains and throw away the key. By the People For the People was totally thrown out the window a while back.

  13. Excellent article, Elaine M.

    http://current.com/shows/the-young-turks/videos/michael-hastings-glenn-greenwald-on-how-media-hype-about-melodramatic-terrorist-plots-helps-sustain-the-u-s-war-on-terror (Michael Hastings & Glenn Greenwald on how media hype about ‘melodramatic’ terrorist plots helps sustain the U.S. ‘War on Terror’ May 9, 2012)

    “Michael Shure, Michael Hastings from Rolling Stone and Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald talk about media reporting and hype about terrorist bomb plots. Greenwald says, “Most Americans don’t ever make the causal connection between the massive amounts of violence that we bring to the rest of the world and the way in which some people in those parts of the world want to bring violence to us.” Hastings adds, “The biggest black mark on the Obama administration is the continuation of the policies of the Bush years — the ‘War on Terror.’ It’s so insidious, now it’s become part of American life… We keep being told about it in the most melodramatic terms.”?

  14. Darren,

    I took legal action, too. Didn’t do much good. Welcome to the American legal system. If you want to call it that.

  15. Now, Bron, to paraphrase others: Consider that it’s not merely the size of the pie that is the problem, but who gets to determine how big each slice is and what it funds. Size alone is not the problem, and shrinking government in toto to simply wring out the fat that you consider a waste is neither efficient nor certain — unless like Grover N. you want to drown the whole thing (which he really doesn’t). You don’t, do you? Surely you’ve considered this far.

  16. feemeister,

    There certainly was a big government propaganda push to sell the public about going to war with Iraq. And it worked!

    I think many of us who are regulars and visitors of this blog realize we have been/are being fed propaganda on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call attention to it.

  17. This will never fly. Americans will be on to them like flys on merde. I hear the first major wave of propaganda will be code named, “BWS” and will target the “serious people”. It will attempt to convince them there is absolutely no hope breaking free of the pols who are abusing them and they must simply vote, “the lesser of evils” (that’s the code phrase that’s supposed to make their mouths water) even though it will lock them into a deadly relationship of enablement in perpetuity.

    Then there is some sort of nonsense about giving them catch phrases, like “purists” to “protect themsleves” when confronted with facts. Absolute rubbish.

    Now seriously, can you imagine any Americans falling for that? I mean really…We have nothing whatsoever to fear from this bill even if it passes.

  18. Matt,

    I wondered how you felt about the govt.’s exercising of free speech to propagandize US citizens while simultaneously restricting free speech of ordinary citizens, whistle blowers, reporters and the like to tell important but inconvenient truths?

    The govt. doesn’t put itself under arrest, pepper spray, torture, seize the assets of or prosecute itself for free speeching. Yet each of these has been and is currently being done to people who don’t free speech the way the govt. approves of.

    That’s a huge disparity of treatment. Why do you think there is such a disparity over the use of free speech?

  19. Hillary went on a propaganda tour to market Bahrain to the public. She sold them some weapons while they were killing their own citizens in the streets

    Will the Neo Liberals ever have to admit this looks terrible and the American people, if they were wise to what the government is doing, would revolt.

    Why does Hillary want to give weapons to the bad guys? Because we have a strategic MIC base there. They can blackmail the US for anything they want.

  20. shano,

    You’re correct. Do you think she acted without Obama’s knowledge on a matter of such importance? Because the facts clearly show that her boss approved of weapons sales to Bahrain right in the middle of one instance a very bloody crack down.

  21. Jill,

    We have to take care with regard to free speech. That’s subjective. What happens if you disclose information that’s in the public domain? When certain people don’t want you to disclose that information?

  22. Matt,
    to answer your questions, Yes, I am a citizen. No, I did not get my law degree from a Cracker Jack Box. I was more inclined to eat Cheese popcorn before Cracker Jack anyway.
    The First amendment protects citizens from Government action to supress the freedom of speech, or at least it is supposed to. Not the other way around. The government has no freedom of speech rights to spew propaganda to the citizens.

  23. One does have to wonder exactly what advantages will be had by codifying something that has been so extensively practiced since hunter/gatherers started planting crops.

  24. Elaine,

    As you said about your topic, most people know about propaganda but it’s still important to talk about it. Likewise, the US govt. has historically been heavily involved in weaponizing the world, overthrowing dictators and the like. JFK is on tape laughing about who he was going to kill in Latin American next! Of course, Eisenhower was installing a puppet in Iran after those people voted the “wrong” way.

    So yes, it’s been happening for a long time. I think it is important to understand this aspect of our govt. from a current events as well as an historical perspective. History can give us real insight into the present. Thank you for pointing to our long history in this matter.

    I wondered if you connected it to the present in a certain way or if you feel there’s not much continuity to the present situation.

  25. “One would hope at some point all members of the press would aspire to be the unwavering voice of the truth. That to me is far more heroic than being a stooge of the government.”

    April 20-22, 2012 — NSA spying operation targeting journalists focused but massive

    National Security Agency (NSA) sources have reported the following to WMR:

    The NSA has conducted a targeted but massive surveillance operation against certain journalists who have routinely exposed NSA’s illegal domestic communication surveillance program, code named STELLAR WIND.

    NSA has, for some time, kept tabs on journalists who wrote about the communication spying agency. In its embryonic stage, the journalist surveillance system, originally code-named FIRSTFRUITS, was basically a clipping service that provided NSA and CIA analysts with copies of newspaper, magazine, and Internet articles that mentioned one or both of the two agencies.

    Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal counsel, David Addington, visited NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland with a list of individuals he wanted NSA to spy on and provide Cheney’s office with transcripts of phone calls and e-mails. From that visit, STELLAR WIND was developed as an illegal surveillance system targeting journalists, members of Congress, and other “persons of interest” for the White House.

    In March 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft ruled STELLAR WIND illegal but the next day he became critically ill with pancreatitis. When White House chief of staff Andrew Card and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales visited Ashcroft in his hospital room to demand he sign off on the program, Ashcroft deferred to his deputy James Comey and FBI director Robert Mueller who both refused to authorize the program. George W. Bush overruled Ashcroft, Comey, and Mueller and continued to authorize STELLAR WIND. President Obama has continued to authorize STELLAR WIND, according to NSA sources.

    Although STELLAR WIND continues to generally target journalists who write about intelligence and national security matters, NSA has cncentrated its efforts on three journalists, in particular. They are New York Times’ reporter and author of State of War James Risen, journalist and author of The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets James Bamford, and WMR editor Wayne Madsen. Risen continues to fight a grand jury subpoena to testify about his sources on Operation Merlin, a CIA program to deliver flawed nuclear design technology to Iran. Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling has been indicted and charged under the Espionage Act for revealing details of the program. Risen’s subpoena was quashed by Judge Louise Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, but the Obama administration has appealed the decision to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia and oral arguments in the case are scheduled for next month.

    NSA sources report: Wayne Madsen’s e-mails and phone conversations back to 2002 are in the possession of the NSA. The phone calls range from those with his mother to those with government sources. All passwords to social networking websites, banks, phone companies, credit card companies, and his website, WayneMadsenReport, are held by the NSA. The data includes the list of his subscribers to WayneMadsenReport, as well.

    The same level of detailed data is maintained on Risen and Bamford.

    Personal observation: It is very clear that a number of individuals who contacted this editor over the past several years to pass on information were stymied at the last minute from maintaining contact. These individuals were willing to provide information on: the movement and temporary “loss” of nuclear weapons from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in 2007 coupled with the murder of Air Force special operation Captain John Frueh in Washington state; documents proving Canadian military involvement in torture of detainees in Afghanistan; information on the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden harbor being a “false flag” attack; evidence that there were no human remains found at the crash shite of United flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and evidence showing that Harvard virologist Dr. Don Wiley, who was investigating the initial anthrax attacks, was murdered in Memphis in November 2001.

    In all these cases, individuals who contacted this editor and were willing to provide information ceased contact after their initial phone calls, letters, and email.

    NSA also maintains mail covers on addresses of certain individuals in the event that contact is made via the U.S. Postal Service or private companies such as FedEx or DHL.

    FIRSTFRUITS, which is now known by a different cover name, contains, in addition to articles, complete transcripts of phone calls, e-mails, faxes, and letters, in addition to the numbers and names of all individuals who have been in contact with targeted journalists. In addition to the three high priority targets — Risen, Bamford, and Madsen — other journalists who are a subject of the NSA warrantless surveillance include Bill Gertz of The Washington Times, Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane of The New York Times, Siobhan Gorman, formerly of The Baltimore Sun and now with The Wall Street Journal, and Seymour Hersh with The New Yorker.

    So far, the Obama administration has brought Espionage Act charges against six individuals for contact with the media. They are charged with providing classified information to journalists and “aiding the enemy.”

    However, the Justice Department may take an even more draconian turn. This editor has heard from NSA insiders that there is a willingness by some quarters to charge two of the three key targeted journalists under the Espionage Act. Since Bamford and Madsen both once worked at NSA and both signed non-disclosure agreements — Bamford in the 1960s and Madsen in the mid-1980s — there has been talk of indicting them also for violations of the Espionage Act, along with their sources in the intelligence community.

  26. Excerpt:
    April 23-24, 2012 — NSA establishing large Internet surveillance facility in Tennessee

    Sources in the U.S. intelligence community report that the National Security Agency (NSA) is establishing a major Internet surveillance at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee that is dedicated to decrypting encoded communications, including file transfers, over the Internet and within private private networks such as those used by banks, foreign governments, and multinational corporations.

  27. 3 Occupy livestreamers stopped and rousted at night in their car, guns drawn- they were handcuffed and then released. This was after learning that the apartment they were staying at in Chicago had been sacked that afternoon by the police while they were out covering the march.

    They lost some sleep but are back livestreaming today. Pure intimidation of the new media:

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Citizen-Journalists-Detained-at-Gunpoint-by-CPD-152206965.html

  28. My two previous posts are in response to the expectation that journalists would keep us informed about what’s going on.

    Even if the journalists writes a good story, there is no guarantee that it will be published in MSM.

    Obama has been ruthless in prosecuting whistle-blowers. In some cases, the feds have planted evidence so the person is charged with espionage.

  29. Do you know who is the largest dealer of military armaments in the world? The United States.

  30. Professor Turley:

    Thank you for your kind remarks and to receive such from you to me is a welcome compliment. I’m grateful for this.

    I had to retire from the Sheriff’s Office this year due to coming down with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. I’m still on the roster for a small city PD I work part time for on occasion, often when rookies were in the academy. The Chief there held the faith one day I would return to working the road and wants to see me doing this. Lately I have seen my condition improve and I might be able to come back maybe on a part time basis. At least it is a good goal to motivate me during physical therapy.

    Again, Thank You Professor.

  31. One Pentagon official who is concerned about the amendment told Hastings, “It removes the protection for Americans. It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.”

    Again, one wonders how this is different from now except, or course, in terms of formal accountability (a big yawn from the banks at the mention of “accountability”). No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false. That is an amazingly exact description of every single mainstream news or opinion show on any channel out there.

    Granted, putting it in a bill and making it law is hideous, remarkable if you think about it, and run of the mill if you don’t.

  32. Jill,

    “I wondered if you connected it to the present in a certain way or if you feel there’s not much continuity to the present situation.”

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean. What does “it” refer to–the use of propaganda…the weaponizing of other countries…the propping up of dictators…helping to overthrow elected leaders in other nations?

    All of the above?

  33. This is not a society built on accountability, but one built on LIABILITY. Thus, as Darren Smith says, you can’t make anyone accountable unless you can hold them liable, which is generally NOT something our “justice” system wants to get behind. That is, it is all for accountability of the little guys who are easy to push around; accountability for the big guys who can’t be pushed around so quickly is a rare commodity indeed.

    Our “justice” system particularly does not want to get behind a demand for accountability on the part of any governmental entity, whether it’s city, county, state, agency, even quasi-governmental or the big contractors. There are just too many heads that could roll if the heads started rolling.

  34. Another interesting aspect of this is, why so open about it? What does it say when our government doesn’t even bat an eye in introducing a bill (or amendment) to make propaganda legal?

  35. Yemen has only certain few government-authorized news outlets. Saleh controlled the information in Yemen until the Internet took over and he couldn’t stop information. Once you have the government merging with the news outlets, you don’t have to go far (just have so many people buy guns that there are more guns than people) to become Yemen.

  36. Darren,
    From your writing I take it that you’re a LEO and one with integrity and a good heart. Having worked with LEO’s for 8 years in Child Welfare and working for NYC for 37 years I understand how hard it is to do the right thing. I applaud you.

    (I previously made this comment above but it appeared with Professor Turley’s name, since I was using a Kindle earlier that had not logged out from JT’s wordpress account after I’d written my post yesterday. Sorry for any confusion)

  37. Darren Smith,

    “I guess my own sense of nostalgia still clings to the notion a person can go to the press and the press will expose the corruption, sleaze, or other misconduct of the gov’t, corporations, or individuals. Maybe it is from watching “old” movies as a younger person. ”

    *****

    I DO believe there are still REAL journalists who work hard to expose corruption, sleaze, or other misconduct of the government, corporations, individuals. That said, I think many of those journalists are not among the talking heads we often see on news programs and the Sunday morning shows like Meet the Press. A handful of corporations now own the majority of media outlets–down from several dozens years ago. I don’t think those corporations are as interested in uncovering the truth as they are at making money. Those corporations, I believe, had a hand in trying to push public opinion toward supporting a war with Iraq.

  38. Mike:

    No worries. I’m equally as glad to receive your compliments as well. Keep up the good work and the lively debate Mike .

  39. “Professor Turley:
    Thank you for your kind remarks and to receive such from you to me is a welcome compliment”.

    Darren,

    I see already that you responded and I deeply apologize for the confusion, but my appreciation still stands. A Kindle Fire sometimes is a damnable device to deal with, but nevertheless I should have used more caution. In any event the slip-up with you wasn’t even my worst of the day. On Raff’s thread on the Clout of the Cubs today, I made a comment seemingly as JT, criticizing the hallowed Wrigley Field and Professor Turley is an ardent Cubs fan.

    I was sorry to hear about your Parkinson’s because it runs in my family, but it is good to hear that your are feeling better with therapy. It is so nice to have you on board with us. One of our most honored commentors through the years was a man with the handle FFLEO. He was a retired Federal Agent, lived in the rural West and was a solid Republican. He was also a civil libertarian, with a keen intelligence and a pristine integrity. I admired him greatly and at the time he was the oldest person commenting here, except for myself. He stopped coming over what he felt was an issue of integrity and I still miss his wisdom.

    Because this is a blog concerned with civil liberties of there are stories and comments very critical of LEO’s. It becomes easy to forget that those who don’t respect the law are not in the majority. It is also easy to lose sight of the fact that law enforcement officers deal with the difficult political realities of their jobs.I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have entered law enforcement with ideals and have the nature of most systems give you not so subtle messages that there are other agendas that sometimes drive enforcement. I’m an NYC native and the politicians commonly praise “New York’s Finest” and are publicly supportive. However, they barely take care of the precinct working environments/equipment and become aloof towards the police comes contract time.

  40. Elaine:

    “I’d say government money wasted in this way–as well as other ways–could be used toward repairing roads and crumbling infrastructure, education, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. Our politicians tell us there is no money for such things–but there really is.”

    Money is wasted when it isnt yours and when there is no real accountability.

    There is plenty of money, it just gets wasted on stupid things and government gets overcharged for all the rest.

  41. OT If I may be sort of bossy here, Darren, please add some coconut oil to your diet. It will protect your nerve integrity.

    Drink the coconut water too. You should be eating all sorts of beneficial oils packed with Omega 3s. Hemp oil has the best Omega 3 to 6 ratio. /cold pressed organic oils that are fresh!
    You need these oils to repair the sheaths that enclose and protect your nervous system. From experience…..

  42. “the press will expose the corruption, sleaze, or other misconduct of the gov’t, corporations, or individuals” Darren

    Wikileaks was doing a great job.

    Something happened, maybe they did not make a living doing this- or maybe the banks were instructed to stop doing business with them- who can tell?

  43. Elaine. You are correct, media stll shills for the wars that we entered in the middle east et al. Even in the days with what I nostalgicly referred to the old days of the newspaper it wasn’t without its yellow leanings, especially with regard to William Hearst. (Excerpt from Wikipedia) To me Sinclair’s writings said it all.

    “Hearst’s use of yellow journalism techniques in his New York Journal to whip up popular support for U.S. military adventurism in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in 1898 was also criticized in Upton Sinclair’s 1919 book, The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism. According to Sinclair, Hearst’s newspaper employees were “willing by deliberate and shameful lies, made out of whole cloth, to stir nations to enmity and drive them to murderous war.”

  44. Welcome to Fascism folks. Admit it or not, this country is no longer a Republic. Our so-called representatives in Congress have sold us out for a
    few pieces of silver.

  45. Mike,

    again, thank you for your address. I don’t feel any personal insult as to people disparaging LEO’s here or anywhere. I know what I stand for so it’s like water on a duck. I will say however and my blog posts generally reflect this, when a LEO makes a mockery of himself he deserves the wrath he receives as does any public servant. I see, with some certain exceptions, over time things are improving. It was still the case within my parents’ lifetimes long ago where the police were largely in the pocketbook of the political powers to be. It is self evident especially in regard to strike-breakers and union activities where the police served indirectly as the Schutzstaffel of the political machine. Thankfully we have moved past this but we do have much ahead.

    A tried to impress upon young officers that crooks come in many forms, those who break the rules and sometimes those who create them. The easiest way for a new officer who in facing an impasse on how to proceed I tell them to reflect back to their training, put yourself into the other’s shoes, and expect the cameras to be rolling. Treat the lowest member of your society the same as the highest. Enforcement is based upon their acts or omissions not who they are. Don’t let anyone bully you.

    Civil rights and LE are not mutually exclusive and should actually be the same. Crooks stealing property violates the rights of the victim just as putting someone in jail without PC does. Personally I believe also the police should be a faceless institution based upon law, not upon the aspirations of individuals with possibly their own agendas. Ideally while it is most necessary for transparency and oversight, it should not be answerable to individual politicians. But, we are not there yet. I personally agree with the notion of Jury Nullification as being the last defense in the CJ system to prevent a citizen from being railroaded, but it has an evil twin such as all white juries acquiting KKK afiliated murderers.

    Wow, that certainly went off topic of me Nevertheless thank you Mike, I’m glad to participate here.

  46. “Then there is some sort of nonsense about giving them catch phrases, like “purists” to “protect themsleves” when confronted with facts. Absolute rubbish.”

    BrooklinBridge,

    It must be so comforting to have absolute certainty of belief. To sit on your pedestal and look down at the unwashed masses needing your cogent analysis of everything. To feel yourself as one of the few people existing who has integrity. Beyond integrity though, is your complete understanding that “true political insight” only resides with you and those who agree with you. Occasionally though, when you allow the errant stray thought to glide through the perfection of your consciousness, there might be the temporary question of why people aren’t following your lead to the extent that they should, given the perfection of your message. You of course push that away because you will have none of that “being self critical bullshit”. Then you drift back to the mirror in which you contemplate the wisdom and greatness that is you.

    The fact is BB that there is a difference between the Corporate Republicans and the Corporate Democrats. They both serve Corporate power, but the Corporate Republican’s will only make things much worse for the middle class,
    the poverty stricken, women, gay people and people of color. If you can’t see the fact of that then your political analysis is skewed. Here’s the problem that you and your cohorts face. This country is moving inexorably towards a Feudal Fascist State, if we aren’t mostly there. The need now is to stave it off as long as possible until opposition can build. There needs to be a broad based movement to oppose it, but organization becomes problematic when people like you scare away possible recruits who do not meet up to your level of political perfection. You all simply don’t know how to turn on popular support and build coalitions. So you sit on your asses and pontificate with like minded others, rather the actually creating bridges between people.

    You all act like this assault on the Constitution and American Freedoms is something new. I lived through the Cold War and the McCarthy era and people were being murdered back then in service to the M.I. Complex. The problem was that when the revolution, that I was part of, came in the 60’s it was weakened by preening, purist peacocks like yourself. Martin Luther King, the most effective leader of a mass movement in this country’s history was disparaged by the likes of Eldridge Cleaver and Stokely Carmichael, shouting for “Black Power” and destroying the broad based coalition Dr. King had built, taking down the Civil Rights Movement with it. It’s interesting that history shows that both Cleaver and Carmichael eventually sold out.

    Then there was the Anti-War Movement originally led by people like Tom Hayden and David Dellinger. That got co-opted by the likes of dilettante Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. They were so personally pure that they believed they could ridicule the public to its face3 and still create a popular movement. All they did was elect Nixon and extend the war. However, Mr. Putative Radical let’s really talk turkey. JFK, RFK and MLK were murdered by forces within our permanent corporate government that would only brook so much opposition to their policies of greed and foreign intervention. You who are so good at political analysis are so quick to criticize Obama for not immediately taking their playthings, like torture and foreign murder, away from the M.I./Corporate Complex. Your preference would be a martyrdom doing what you consider to be the right thing. Any President may be The Commander In Chief, but are you really so naive to believe that he holds real military power?

    The only path to change is via broad based, wide spectrum national movements like the recent one in Iceland, or the other nascent ones in Europe. You think you are so wise to the ways of the world but the fact is you simply don’t get it and are dangerous to those of us who do get it, because you sap any potential movement of its recruits by anathematizing them and thus turning them off.

  47. “I wondered if you connected it to the present in a certain way or if you feel there’s not much continuity to the present situation.”

    Elaine,

    Jill is merely trying to “educate” you to the greater truths she has learned. In that process she has ignored your entire body of work here, with this implication that you might be unaware of the implications of what you post. As Gene expressed in his blog that is complementary to this one, propaganda comes in all forms and one thing to look for is connotation. I think Jill’s connotation is that you are somewhat naive, but I think that the reverse is the truth, you are hardly naive or unknowing.

  48. Shano. I’ll head down tomorrow and get some of the hemp and coconut oils and give them as shot. I’ve heard about the Omegas and will see how it works.

    For the wikileaks issue with regard to the US Government, I almost wondered if the leak was either intended, or at least allowed to happen. I don’t know if any military secrets were released but to me I thought some greater good came out of it. I thought it might be an interesting notion to consider the gov’t wanting to shake out a few things and finds a way to put this information into the public forum in the form of a leak so the US Gov’t isn’t viewed as the one who let the cat out of the bag, and can then save face/or CYA. Probably this is not likely but it made for some interesting reflection.

    I just kind of have a measure of sympathy for the soldier who got thrown in the brig over this whole affair.

  49. Another difference between the democrats and republicans is union support. Republicans want to turn every state into a right to work state like Scott Walker is attempting to do. If a voter wants unions to prosper and exist, one does not vote republican.

  50. yea, Darren, that whole story of Manning confessing to Lamos was so phoney/lame I had a hard time believing any of it.

    I wish they had not tortured him.

  51. BettyKath,

    I roll down from your WMR excerpt to ask about Madsen.

    Is it true that he said he had evidence showing that Obama was into being orally sexed by white men? This has been circulated by among others a person residing
    in Indonesia who picked me up on the net to fill me with stuff including that he was expecting a visit in a couple of days from Madsen, etc etc.. He lost patience with me when I would not bite, and disappeared after leaving full info including name, photo of himself with Indonesian wife, etc etc.

    In short, how much are we to believe coming from Madsen.

  52. Mike S.,

    “I think Jill’s connotation is that you are somewhat naive, but I think that the reverse is the truth, you are hardly naive or unknowing.”

    I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday!

    ;)

  53. Here’s an interesting article from 2010 that I just found:

    The Autocrat’s Algorithm
    Is Google News helping to spread propaganda?
    BY JOSHUA E. KEATING |NOVEMBER 19, 2010
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/11/19/the_autocrat_s_algorithm?hidecomments=yes

    Excerpt:
    On Nov. 18, I used the enormously popular news aggregator Google News to search for information about the Russian alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout, recently extradited from Thailand to the United States. The top story was a dispatch from the state-controlled newswire RIA-Novosti, which essentially transcribed a statement from the Russian foreign minister demanding that Bout receive a fair trial. The other top results were a mixed bag, including Western sources like CBS News and Agence France-Presse as well as other Russian state-funded sources like ITAR-TASS and the television network Russia Today. (Typical U.S. headline: “Alleged ‘Merchant of Death’ Pleads Not Guilty.” Typical Russian headline: “Bout was psychologically pressured during flight to U.S.”)

    Two weeks earlier, a search for “Myanmar Election” would have returned dispatches from U.S. sources like UPI and the Los Angeles Times, describing Burma’s just-concluded poll as a highly rigged sham, but also an opinion piece from the Global Times, an internationally focused publication produced by China’s People’s Daily titled “Myanmar’s Election a Step Forward.”

    Of course, offering news from different international perspectives is the whole point of Google News. The service was developed by Google’s Krishna Bharat shortly after the 9/11 attacks with the goal, as he later put it, of “helping people understand multiple points of view, and hence becoming wiser for it — whether they agree with it or not.” But those points of view are often coming from state-sponsored news sources in countries, like Russia and China, where independent journalists are either harassed and persecuted or outright banned. Could Google News’s level playing field be enabling authoritarian regimes to more easily get out their message?

    “The web gives us the possibility to reach an audience who cannot watch us on TV, and who are more used to getting news online,” Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of television network Russia Today, told me in an email. RT, as it’s more commonly known, was founded five years ago, partly by RIA-Novosti, and is widely seen as an effort to improve Russia’s image around the world, though it denies having a pro-Kremlin bias.

    Nonetheless, others detect a strong pro-Russian slant in the network’s coverage of international events. During the 2008 Georgia-Russia war, RT accused the Georgian forces of “genocide,” but reportedly instructed its reporters not to report from ethnically Georgian villages that had been attacked by Russian troops. The network has also been criticized for giving airtime to fringe anti-American political figures and 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Some mainstream Washington analysts — including this author, once — do appear on the network’s broadcasts, but sometimes find it difficult to get their views across.

    “It’s a little hard to go back on a TV show that has ‘mechanical difficulties’ every time you’re supposed to speak,” says Council on Foreign Relations Russia analyst Stephen Sestanovich.

    Judging by the results for Russia-related queries, however, RT’s website seems to be succeeding in spite of its editorial slant.

    Google doesn’t disclose the complex algorithm by which it ranks search results, though that doesn’t stop news outlets (including this one) from trying to figure it out. “Search engine optimization,” or SEO, has become an obsession for media outlets looking to gain an edge on the competition in the new journalism landscape created by Google.

    In an extreme example of this trend, some new online news outlets such as Associated Content and Demand Media generate content purely based on Google search queries rather than any sort of journalistic value, and newspapers are beginning to experiment with the formula.

    Simonyan wouldn’t speak on how her network seems to perform so well on Google News, saying, “Only Google can explain how it works.”

    According to Google spokesman Chris Gaither, some criteria include the “freshness” and “localness” of the story. The site also judges the reliability of different sources by a number of criteria, including the number of repeat visits from users.

    One reason state-sponsored media often rank so high in response to specific queries might be that they’re often the main source of original information from the countries they cover. Informal studies have observed that Google tends to prioritize original reporting over re-reported content. With either shrinking news budgets or government restrictions preventing Western news agencies from covering events in countries like Iran and Russia, that gives state-sponsored outlets a clear edge. A search for the latest news on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely to turn up so many stories from loyal state-sponsored outlets like PressTV and Fars News because they spend a lot more time covering him and have much better access.

    But some analysts wonder about the unintended consequences of this preference. “If no one’s covering the story but a news wire, a bunch of sources copying the newswire, and a state broadcaster who’s basically there to refute the news wire, is Google News doing the right thing for us by prioritizing that state broadcaster?” asks Ethan Zuckerman, senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and co-founder of the international blog aggregator Global Voices.

    For example, are RT and RIA-Novosti really trustworthy sources on the brutal beating of reporter Oleg Kashin, who was nearly killed last month, likely for engaging in just the sort of journalism that these sources fail to provide? Their stories mention the frequent attacks on journalists in Russia, but fail to note, as the New York Times and AP did, that these recent crimes have nearly all gone unsolved by the authorities.

  54. The following article is a bit dated–but It probably still applies today.

    U.S. Capitalists Spread China’s Communist Propaganda
    NewsMax.com Wires
    Wednesday, May 2, 2002
    http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/5/1/180312.shtml

    Excerpt:
    The business press has painted a picture of a thriving, home-grown Chinese market for portals and search engines – mirroring such companies as AOL, Google and Excite – with names such as Sohu, Netease, and Sina fighting for the top spots. Chinese Yahoo!, the American outrider, trails in fifth place.

    A top Yahoo! representative spoke to me on the condition that I would not use his name or give identifying details other than that he had recently left the company. He admitted that Yahoo! was actually the most popular portal in China by a mile.

    As a Chinese Internet research company confirmed, Yahoo! played a clever game. For every major survey it split into several sites so it would not appear to be No. 1. Management fudged the hit rate, because “we were viewed as extremely aggressive. We were seen as too foreign.”

    Yahoo! Helps Catch Thought Crimes

    Chinese xenophobia has led many other U.S. companies to play similar games, but Yahoo! was particularly eager to please.

    All Chinese chat rooms or discussion groups have a “big mama,” a supervisor for a team of censors who wipe out politically incorrect comments in real time. Yahoo! handles things differently.

    If in the midst of a discussion you type, “We should have nationwide multiparty elections in China!!” no one else will react to your comment. How could they? It appears on your screen, but only you and Yahoo!’s big mama actually see your thought crime.

    After intercepting it and preventing its transmission, Mother Yahoo! then solicitously generates a friendly e-mail suggesting that you cool your – censorship, but with a New Age nod to self-esteem.

    The former Yahoo! rep also admitted that the search phrase “Taiwan independence” on Chinese Yahoo! would yield no results, because Yahoo! has disabled searches for select keywords, such as “Falun Gong” and “China democracy.” Search for VIP Reference, a major overseas Chinese dissident site, and you will get a single hit, a government site ripping it to shreds.

    How did Yahoo! come up with these policies? He replied: “It was a precautionary measure. The State Information Bureau was in charge of watching and making sure that we complied. The game is to make sure that they don’t complain.”

    By this logic, when Yahoo! rejected an attempt by Voice of America to buy ad space, it was just helping the Internet function smoothly.

    Defending Censorship

    The former rep defended such censorship. “We are not a content creator, just a medium, a selective medium.”

    But it is a critical medium. The Chinese government uses it to wage political campaigns against Taiwan, Tibet and America. And of course the great promise of the Internet in China was supposed to be that it was unfettered, not selective.

    The Yahoo! rep again: “You adjust. The crackdowns come in waves; it’s just the issue du jour. It’s normal.”

    Microsoft Fights

  55. U.S. media takes the lead on Iran
    The propaganda over The Grave Persian Threat is as cartoonish as it was when directed at Iraq in 2002 VIDEO
    By Glenn Greenwald
    2/14/12
    http://www.salon.com/2012/02/14/us_media_takes_the_lead_on_iran/singleton/

    Excerpt;
    Many have compared the coordinated propaganda campaign now being disseminated about The Iranian Threat to that which preceded the Iraq War, but there is one notable difference. Whereas the American media in 2002 followed the lead of the U.S. government in beating the war drums against Saddam, they now seem even more eager for war against Iran than the U.S. government itself, which actually appears somewhat reluctant. Consider this highly illustrative, one-minute report yesterday from the nightly broadcast of NBC News with Brian Williams, by the network’s Chief Pentagon Correspondent Jim “Mik” Miklaszewski, which packs multiple misleading narratives into one short package:

    We’re told that if the U.S. ends up in a war with Iran, then “the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet would be the world’s first line of defense“: because Iran is threatening the entire world, and the U.S. would be defending “the world” from this grave Persian menace. Then there’s the ominous claim that “Iranian leaders have threatened all-out war”: but that’s “if Israel launches air strikes against Iran’s nuclear program,” which would already itself be “all-out war.” The NBC story — which begins with video shots of Iranians in lab coats lurking around complex, James-Bond-villain-like nuclear-ish machines — ends with twenty seconds of scary video footage of Iranian missiles being launched, accompanied with this narration: “U.S. officials warn that Iran’s massive stockpile of ballistic missiles is the more serious threat”; after all, “within just the past few days, Iranian leaders [cue video of a scary, ranting Ahmedinijad] have threatened that if attacked, they would launch those missiles at U.S. targets.”

    It’s just remarkable to watch the American media depict Iran as the threatening, aggressive party here. Literally on a daily basis, political and media figures in both the U.S. and Israel openly threaten to attack Iran and debate how the attack should happen with a casualness that most people use to contemplate what to have for lunch. The U.S. has orchestrated devastating and always-escalating sanctions which, by design, are wrecking the Iranian economy, collapsing its currency, and generating serious hardship for its 75 million citizens. The U.S. military has that country almost completely encircled. The U.S. military behemoth, and Israel’s massive nuclear stockpile and sophisticated weaponry, make the Iranian military by comparison look almost as laughable as Saddam’s. Iran’s scientists have been serially murdered on its own soil, their facilities bombarded with sophisticated cyber attacks, and dissident groups devoted to the overthrow of their government (ones even the U.S. designates as Terrorists) have been armed, trained and funded by Israel while leading American politicians openly shill for them in exchange for substantial payments.

    Yet the Manichean narrative driving this NBC report is par for the media course: Iran’s aggression must be contained, and it is leaving the U.S. and Israel with no choice but to pre-emptively attack it. Most telling is how Iran is continuously depicted as though they are the ones issuing threats of aggression even though all of their threats are retaliatory: if you attack us, we will attack back. Here, for instance, was how The Washington Post – under the headline “Iran, perceiving threat from West, willing to attack on U.S. soil, U.S. intelligence report finds” — described the recent warnings about The Iranian Danger from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:

    That plot “shows that some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime,” Clapper said in the testimony, which was submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee in advance of a threat assessment hearing Tuesday. “We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.”

  56. MikeS,
    Dare I say that whatever you did at the “swim” has re-energized you. Taking for example your words to BB, I found in myself a wonder if he(?) and Jill were not related. But appearances can deceive.

    When i read Jill’s snarty diatribe (short as it was) I could only assume she was kidding. Serious, no way possible.

    My evaluation of Elaine is that she is the sharpest person here in picking out the intestines from this nation’s bloated corpse.
    And not meaning she is a vulture, but doing a coroner’s job for us.

  57. Dan Rather: Corporate Media ‘Is In Bed With’ Washington (VIDEO)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/20/dan-rather-cbs-news-corporate-media_n_1531121.html

    Dan Rather slammed corporate media on Friday night, alleging that news coverage is guided by political interests and profits.

    The former CBS News anchor has recently returned to the spotlight, speaking out about his former employer and defending the controversial Bush National Guard story that ended his storied career at the network.

    On Friday, Rather appeared on Bill Maher’s show to discuss his new book “Rather Outspoken.” He spoke out about the controversy again, and stood by his story (his comments start at the 1:50 mark in the video above). He said that he was fired because CBS News caved into the Bush administration’s demands.

    “The powers that be and the corporate structure were very uncomfortable with the story,” Rather said. “They got pressured by the Bush administration and others in Washington, and it cost a lot of people their jobs, including myself.”

    He went on to warn that everyone should be “concerned” about “the constant consolidation of media,” saying that “no more than six” companies currently control 80% of the distribution of news.

    “These large corporations, they have things they need from the power structure in Washington, whether it’s Republican or Democrat, and of course the people in Washington have things they want the news to be reported,” he said. “To put it bluntly, very big business is in bed with very big government in Washington, and has more to do with what the average person sees, hears, and reads than most people know.”

  58. idealist707,

    re: Madsen. His European heritage is Danish. Madsen is a common surname there, as in “son of Mads”. Doing genealogical research there is a bit difficult.

    re: Madsen, Obama Yes. He has written about Obama’s sexual activities. Rahm Emmanual’s as well. He spent several days in Indonesia investigating his childhood there. It seems that Obama needed to be an Indonesian citizen in order to attend the school he went to. Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship. It’s not clear that Obama renounced his Indonesian citizenship in order to regain his US citizenship. He has also written articles on Obama’s familial ties to the CIA – mother, father, step-father, grandparents.

    Madsen’s blog has two sections, the public contains links to various articles culled from all sorts of news sites; the subscriber portion has one or two articles per day written by him and two separate forums for subscribers’ comments. The articles in the subscriber section have a 24 hour hold on them after which time subscribers are free to disseminate.

    I don’t readily accept everything I read (no fool am I) but I do find Madsen credible. He has been a year or two ahead of MSM on a number of stories.

  59. Nonsense, Mike Spindel, my point of view is hardly unique and is in fact too mundane to support the bombastic tempest of self importance you describe with such telling familiarity.

    When a politician, or a generation of politicians, fail utterly to do what they promised to do, a perfectly valid option is to stop voting for them. That is simple-common-sense and doesn’t require adherents or disciples to buttress the logic. It becomes even more obvious after two and a half generations where the very selection of who you get to vote for becomes an obvious farce. Refusing to vote for such a politician is refusing to play in a rigged system, it denies the farce legitimacy and as such is a time tested political strategy that has been used for ages.

    Emerson walked into the Concord jail one day to find his friend Thoreau behind bars for not paying a tax. He asked Thoreau, “What are you doing in there?” to which Thoreau replied, “What are you doing out there?” Thoreau was denying not only the legitimacy of the tax, but of the whole rigged system. Who is really in prison?

    When someone like you comes up with a wall of verbosity to describe a convoluted system of holding patterns, and waiting strategies, that have dangerous enemies — meaning anyone who doesn’t “get it” like you do — and you try the old Republican switcheroo of calling them the ones who brand anyone who disagrees, and you come galloping up to “put them in their place”, it is obvious there isn’t much room for difference of opinion.

  60. And where is President Barack Obama’s ringing denunciation of the bill authorizing the State Department and War Department to propagandize the American people? Where is the new-found LIBERAL champion of gay marriage- brought into the light of justice and equality for all by his kindly daughters? Are we to believe that his rediscovered LIBERALISM is only a one-issue LIBERALISM to take our eyes off the civil liberties stuff again? Is the “lesser of two evils” still lurking beneath the thin veneer of “former Professor of Constitutional Law”? Excuse my cynicism, but haven’t we been down this road before?

    Isn’t it time to examine what Obama has actually done in the civil liberties area in the 3 1/2 years of his Presidency before we give him 4 more years? My grade of this “Professor of Constitutional Law” is “F”.

    I give you a recent cartoon by Mr. Fish, who expressed his anger better than I can do.

  61. BrooklynBridge,
    In all fairness, I must admit that you characterize MikeS in a manner that effectively calls into question his message. And I note you make your position to using our franchise as aaying it useless in soving our present dilmeen or more accurately put our being sold out by politician. A long preface to asking

    What can a marginal or even a large reduction of voiing lead to as to improving our situation?

    You say you deny the farce legitimmacy. And how does that advance our position. The government does not care whether we do or not. Only massive, very
    massive, passive resistance has a reasonable chance of
    success to at least forcing them into unfamiliar territory, But to get to the kernel: Show me either a successful use of non-participation; or an American scenariio leading o success, and define what you mean by success.

  62. idealist707, I would guess that fewer people will vote due to republican suppression through voter id laws. Maybe the combination of voter suppression and the movement to not vote will result in a Romney win. That seems to be the desired outcome.

  63. Oh the horror of it all: The actual proposed amendment…

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.5736:

    SEC. 208. CLARIFICATION ON DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION OF PROGRAM MATERIAL.

    `(a) In General- No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States.

    (Sure doesn’t take much to manipulate anyone here.)

  64. `SEC. 208. CLARIFICATION ON DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION OF PROGRAM MATERIAL.

    `(a) In General- No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States. This section shall apply only to programs carried out pursuant to the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.), the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (22 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.), the Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act (22 U.S.C. 1465 et seq.), and the Television Broadcasting to Cuba Act (22 U.S.C. 1465aa et seq.). This section shall not prohibit or delay the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors from providing information about its operations, policies, programs, or program material, or making such available, to the media, public, or Congress, in accordance with other applicable law.

    `(b) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors from engaging in any medium or form of communication, either directly or indirectly, because a United States domestic audience is or may be thereby exposed to program material, or based on a presumption of such exposure. Such material may be made available within the United States and disseminated, when appropriate, pursuant to sections 502 and 1005 of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1462 and 1437), except that nothing in this section may be construed to authorize the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors to disseminate within the United States any program material prepared for dissemination abroad on or before the effective date of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012.

    [emphasis added]

    ******************

    Apparently some think cherry picking is for breakfast.

    It takes a lot more than that to manipulate some around here.

  65. Gene, i think you are smart enough to understand the sections you highlight do not change the meaning of:

    “In General- No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States. ”

    You need to reread the passages.

    Then again perhaps I am wrong about you being smart enough.

  66. 1zb1,

    You’re wrong alright. Just not about what you think you are wrong about. You need to re-read the entire section and consider the effects of the modifying clauses to your cherry picked bone of contention. “In General” has rather broad exceptions applied to it by those clauses. So broad as to render the “In General” statement effectively moot in operation.

  67. forget the “in genera….”…. read and reread the sections you highlighted….. and btw also consider your own cherry picked bones of contention….

    fyi… this is a bill that was sent to house and nothing has happened with it (so far)….

    What would happen if I wanted to do a documentary for American audiences about the use of American “Propaganda” in Iraq and include actual propaganda material in the documentary as examples?

  68. Here is the text of the Smith/Thornberry Amendment:

    “Would amend the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (known as the Smith-Mundt Act) and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1986 and 1987 to clarify the authorities of the Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to prepare, disseminate and use public diplomacy information abroad and to strike the current ban on domestic dissemination of such material. Would clarify that the Smith-Mundt Act’s provisions related to public diplomacy information do not apply to other Federal departments or agencies (including the Department of Defense).”

    http://www.rules.house.gov/Legislation/legislationDetails.aspx?NewsID=828

  69. Note: I apologize. That was a SUMMARY of the Smith/Thornberry Amendment that I found on the website of the House of Reprsentatives Rules Committee.

  70. Congress Wants the Department of Defense to Propagandize Americans
    By Juan Cole
    http://www.juancole.com/2012/05/congress-wants-the-department-of-defense-to-propagandize-americans.html

    Excerpt;
    Two congressmen are attempting to insert a provision in the National Defense Authorization act that would allow the Department of Defense to subject the US domestic public to propaganda. The bipartisan amendment was introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

    Nothing speaks more urgently to the creeping fascism of American politics than the assertion by our representatives, who apparently have never read a book on Germany in the 1930s-1940s or on the Soviet Union in the Stalin period, that forbidding DoD and the State Department from subjecting us to government propaganda “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.” And mind you, they want to use our own money to wash our brains!

    As Will Rogers observed, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”

    I love our guys and gals in uniform, but they can be extremely obnoxious in any discussion about US government policy that ‘gets off point’ or ‘doesn’t serve the mission.’ At Washington think tank events, I’ve seen them repeatedly close down discussions among e.g. State Department foreign service officers. You don’t want most of the DoD types providing information to us, because it won’t be in any way balanced.

    Of course, having a Pentagon propaganda unit at all is highly anti-democratic. The best defense of the truth is a free press. It should also be remembered that nowadays everything in Washington is outsourced, so government propaganda is often being turned over to Booz Allen or the American Enterprise Institute, which have a rightwing bias.

  71. 1zb1,

    I guess you didn’t read my correction:

    Elaine M.
    1, May 21, 2012 at 8:41 am
    Note: I apologize. That was a SUMMARY of the Smith/Thornberry Amendment that I found on the website of the House of Reprsentatives Rules Committee.

  72. em… our comments crossed…. …

    however, the article you posted is pured editorial propaganda hyperbole as opposed to rational legal analysis of the bill…. in no way does it contribute to the actual understanding of the meaning or implication of the amendment one way or the other

  73. em: btw, aren’t you at all interested in what kind of crap we might be feeding the rest of the world, or are you affraid Americans are too stupid to tell the difference between the kind of crap they give us in cereal boxs and the kind of crap the government says overseas.

  74. em: the summary is a direct quote from the amendment. In that sense it is accurate. however, if a summary was the whole bill we would not need the rest of it to make clear what it does and the summary would not be a summary but the whole bill.

    i think it is also important to look at the original article which takes a bill that generally provides a means to release information about the crap we are feeding overseas to the american public and links it to a wider and insidious effort. there are some pretty big leaps taken with the article in that regard that i say are manipulative and insidious in their own right.

    apparently people here don’t mind us spreading crap around the world as long as we don’t get to find out and know what that crap is.

  75. em; your right, we should leave all the crap making to private enterprise and the rest of us, afterall, in a democracy the right to exploit others with loads of crap is one of our most fundemetnal rights.

    of course, as long as people are out there in the world trying to blow us up we should not want to other suggesting to them in anyway we are nice people and please don’t try and blow us up. why would we want to even think about trying to fight a war with ideas rather then with bullets all the time. how silly of me.

  76. oh, i forgot, there really is no one out there who wants to blow us up. its all just government propaganda. how silly of me.

  77. 1zb1,

    em: the summary is a direct quote from the amendment. In that sense it is accurate. however, if a summary was the whole bill we would not need the rest of it to make clear what it does and the summary would not be a summary but the whole bill.

    *****

    So…what’s your point? What do you think the intent of the amendment is?

    BTW, Congressional bills/amendments rarely make things clear. They tend to obfuscate with an overabundance of language. Summaries are written to clarify the intent of a bill/amendment.

  78. “It must be so comforting to have absolute certainty of belief. To sit on your pedestal and look down at the unwashed masses needing your cogent analysis of everything. To feel yourself as one of the few people existing who has integrity.”

    BB,

    Thank you for so perfectly making my point above. I appreciate your understanding of the irony implied and admire the obtuseness of your reading comprehension.

    “Refusing to vote for such a politician is refusing to play in a rigged system, it denies the farce legitimacy and as such is a time tested political strategy that has been used for ages.”

    A “time-tested political strategy” towards what end? How can you on one hand give cogent analysis of the current political situation which you do and on the other not understand that not voting is exactly a preferred outcome for our Corporate Masters? Now if let’s say only 5% of the citizenry didn’t vote then maybe you might catch the attention of our Corporate Overlords in that the sham of democracy might be apparent. However, that would require the mass movement of which I speak. That is an impossible goal for this particular election because the groundwork hasn’t even begun to be laid amongst the citizenry. Typically today only 50% to 60% of eligible voters actually vote. It hasn’t made any impression on almost anyone and it has been the norm for four decades. Indeed the Conservative strategy of making up a “voter fraud problem” is intended to disenfranchise voters. There is no “mass movement” to encourage the people to not vote in this election, save for the Republican strategy, so in effect there is no strategy to rid us of the corporatists.

    Now your position may in effect be that you personally refuse to vote in a “sham” election. While I understand that to be a valid position, it is hardly a strategy, merely a personal choice on your part. My position, often stated here, is that we are under Corporatist/M.I. Complex Rule and have been for more than 60 years. The fact that we can even write what we write on this blog, is both an example of Corporate confidence in their control and the lack of theoretical heterodoxy among the elite. The elite’s clear cut issue lies between those who would fully impose draconian rule upon the society and those who would ameliorate some of the awful conditions lived in by most people, included the shrinking middle classes. This roughly divides out between the two corporate parties with the former being the Republican’s and the latter being the Democrats.

    Since no one has put together more than stirrings of a grass root movement to oppose this, OWS is still in its infancy, my “strategic” choice is to vote for those of less draconian policy to stave off the total crackdown that will come with a Republican victory. If there is a crackdown, which by their own words is
    more than probable, building any movement further will not be possible and
    Fascist Feudalism will be complete. It may not work but that is at least a “strategy”, what is it you offer in counterpoint except your non-participation?

  79. em: any bill, no matter how long or short is open to wide interpretation. we can argue over the meaning and intent of a single word. for example, some people take the healthcare penalty provision and take that to mean the government can make you eat broccolli.

    i take this bill as much more about rules for making such information available to the public so the public has a means to know what we are doing overseas… for example section (b)(1)

    ‘(A) to establish procedures to maintain such material;

    ‘(B) for reimbursement of the reasonable costs incurred in fulfilling requests for such material; and

    ‘(C) to ensure that the persons seeking release of such material have secured and paid for necessary United States rights and licenses.

    The part about not influencing public opinion (which gene thinks we should ignore, underscores this purpose.

    at the same time the it goes without saying that all information of every kind has the potentional to influence in some fashion. A documentry which includes excerpts of such information used overseas can easily take the point of view and promote a sinister or conversely, benign slant on the material to influence people here about government activity.

    in this case people have used a relatively benighn legislation that actually provides a means of getting more informed about what our government is doing overseas and has made it into more government is evil hyperbole….

    seems most people here have fallen for that…. personally i want to aim to be more informed, not less. apparently most people here seem to think if we don’t know what we are saying overseas its okay and if we do know its bad.

  80. Idealist707, Thoreau didn’t accomplish very much by sitting in prison or did he? On the spot, I think Emerson had to bail him out. But we are still talking about his act of disobedience. The OWS protests are not accomplishing very much or are they? They have chosen to avoid specific demands. They seem to be avoiding as much as possible the system they are challenging. It’s hardly a methodology and it’s far from perfect.Thoreau was not particularly nice and created numerous awkward situations for Emerson to “clean up”. The OWS have frustrated everyone by not coming up with solutions, but instead continuing with the same refrain that the system is rigged.

    I am calling into question here a sort of cozy attitude of, “it’s fine to criticize Obama or Democrats as long as you vote for them.” I don’t have answers. I think Thoreau could be a rather nasty sort at times and I think I have put myself in that same position here on this site (and no, I do not claim to be a Thoreau). Be that as it may, the question I raise is hardly my own and it is a far more reasonable question to ask than many people will admit to.

    The idea of causing Romney to win is loathsome, but there are still very good reasons why it might actually be better, from a humane point of view, than four more years of Obama. Mostly, they boil down to one thing; Romney would have his hands tied and gridlock in Washington is the best news Main street can hope for. If Obama is re-elected, you are almost guaranteed to see serious and totally unnecessary cuts in the safety net programs that will cause huge damage to a large swath of defenseless people, and open the gates for even more serious harm in the future. If Romney is elected, you will see the same effort, but it will result in a huge partisan fight and that might actually avoid the dreaded legislation. The strategy stems from a simple imperfection in the “rigged” system, but it has proven to work again and again in the past just it did just recently when Boehner overplayed his hand.

    Not voting for Obama is a serious option and a completely fair challenge to the notion that Obama or Democrats are really a lesser evil. Given the amount of lethal mischief Obama has accomplished in four years, that many would consider absolutely horrific had it been done by a Republican, I see no factual support for the claim of lesser evil. The best I have gotten from a very thorough and well researched commenter on this site just plays the fear card, “We would find out if Romney gets elected” But whether or not one votes for Romney, or doesn’t vote for Obama, the question should not be taboo or dismissed so easily as it currently is.

  81. 1zb1,

    The focus of this post was on the Smith/Thornberry Amendment. I was attempting to call people’s attention to that one specific amendment and its intent and not to the entire Defense Authorization Act of 2013.

  82. Mike S, The same people said to stay home in 2010 rather than vote for any democrat. None were pure enough. All that resulted in was the GOP war on women and the loss of Russ Feingold and Alan Grayson along with others. Scott Walker is trying to turn Wisconsin into a right to work state. I don’t care if they stay home or not as I already had that discussion with them in 2010. I would rather spend my time registering voters than persuading people to stay home That is my choice. Voter participation is not very high, and I think that is a large part of the problem.

  83. bb, if you really believed that nonsense you would not bother trying to convince everyone else of it.

    Instead of stating your points below as fact try proving even one of those statements are true.

    The idea of causing Romney to win is loathsome, but there are still very good reasons why it might actually be better, from a humane point of view, than four more years of Obama. Mostly, they boil down to one thing; Romney would have his hands tied and gridlock in Washington is the best news Main street can hope for. If Obama is re-elected, you are almost guaranteed to see serious and totally unnecessary cuts in the safety net programs that will cause huge damage to a large swath of defenseless people, and open the gates for even more serious harm in the future. If Romney is elected, you will see the same effort, but it will result in a huge partisan fight and that might actually avoid the dreaded legislation. The strategy stems from a simple imperfection in the “rigged” system, but it has proven to work again and again in the past just it did just recently when Boehner overplayed his hand.

  84. 1zb1,

    I’m re-posting one of my earlier comments:

    em: the summary is a direct quote from the amendment. In that sense it is accurate. however, if a summary was the whole bill we would not need the rest of it to make clear what it does and the summary would not be a summary but the whole bill.

    *****

    So…what’s your point? What do you think the intent of the amendment is?

    BTW, Congressional bills/amendments rarely make things clear. They tend to obfuscate with an overabundance of language. Summaries are written to clarify the intent of a bill/amendment.

    *****

    Do you think our government should be spending our tax dollars to produce propaganda targeted at us Americans? A yes or no answer will suffice.

  85. 1zb1, BB must want more “corporations are people” and anti-choice Supreme Court appointees.

  86. em: nothing wrong with bringing attention, but i think the underlying hasting article was perhaps misrepresenting the bill and using it to link to other activities in a misleading way. it is one thing to have the government secretly disemminating or manipulating information ie fake webposts and that is certainly a legitimate concern, but it is another to make available to the public information we are using and how we are using it as a means of informing the public…

    lincoln said gov of for and by the people but regan said government is the problem and republicans have been doing their best to make that so ever since and then complaining about it. its a receipe for american decline. time to go back to the lincoln notion of government.

  87. lbz1, are you saying that if anyone believed what they are saying, they would not try and convince anyone else? Empty comment section? No Blogs? Or does it just apply to me who you happen to disagree with?

  88. sm: he should try telling woman, minorities, gays, and seniors it doesn’t matter. try telling 30 million people who will loss their healthcare it doesn’t matter; try telling the hope for cleaner environment it doesn’t matter.

    actually, its really too silly to even wast time on… GET OUT THE VOTE!!!!

  89. 1zb1,

    Summary of the amendment:
    “Would amend the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (known as the Smith-Mundt Act) and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1986 and 1987 to clarify the authorities of the Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to prepare, disseminate and use public diplomacy information abroad and to strike the current ban on domestic dissemination of such material. Would clarify that the Smith-Mundt Act’s provisions related to public diplomacy information do not apply to other Federal departments or agencies (including the Department of Defense).”

    *****

    Informing and propagandizing are not exactly the same thing. You’re assuming that the “public diplomacy information” that is spread/distributed abroad is only informational material and not propaganda.

  90. BB: what you believe is it doesn’t matter…. if you really believed it doesn’t matter then there is no point in trying to convince others it doesn’t matter. and yet you continue to try and convince people it doesn’t matter which strongly suggests you believe it does matter. if everyone took your position what would be the consequences. according to you it doesn’t matter so why are you wasting your time on something that doesn’t matter and even if everyone agreed with you it still wouldn’t matter.

  91. em; everything is propaganda… to a large extent the whole point of communicating – even when it is 100% factual – is to influence peoples behavior, thinking, and attitues.

  92. What is the GOP-run House going to legalize next, water?

    Propaganda within the U.S.eh? is a multi-billion dollar business, existing solidly for about a century now:

    Listen to what one media mogul, who was made an asset by the CIA, has to say about her concept of journalism:

    There are some things that the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.

    (Existentialist Cowboy). That was a statement by a CIA asset in the media who controlled the right leaning Washington Post.

    The same article indicated that the CIA had infiltrated and made assets of various MSM sections. Here is a partial list:

    * Philip and Katharine Graham (Pub., Wash. Post)
    * William Paley (President, CBS)
    * Henry Luce (Publisher, Time and Life magazine)
    * Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Publisher, N.Y. Times)
    * Jerry O’Leary (Washington Star)
    * Hal Hendrix (Pulitzer Prize winner, Miami News)
    * Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal)
    * James Copley (Copley News Services)
    * Joseph Harrison (Editor, Christian Science Monitor)
    * C.D. Jackson (Fortune)
    * Walter Pincus (Reporter, Washington Post)
    * ABC
    * NBC
    * Associated Press
    * United Press International
    * Reuters
    * Hearst Newspapers
    * Scripps-Howard
    * Newsweek magazine
    * Mutual Broadcasting System
    * Miami Herald
    * Old Saturday Evening Post
    * New York Herald-Tribune

    (ibid). It was that old rascal Napoleon Bonaparte who said:

    Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.

    (Napoleon Quotes). The CIA corruption of domestic media tranquility is treasonous, but in our age of the demise of accountability, which is the demise of our democracy, they will only increase the treason …

    (The Spawn of …). It is uncanny that propaganda is one of the most prolific forms of literature, but is not easily detected by Brits and Americans.

  93. “The idea of causing Romney to win is loathsome, but there are still very good reasons why it might actually be better, from a humane point of view, than four more years of Obama. Mostly, they boil down to one thing; Romney would have his hands tied and gridlock in Washington is the best news Main street can hope for. If Obama is re-elected, you are almost guaranteed to see serious and totally unnecessary cuts in the safety net programs that will cause huge damage to a large swath of defenseless people, and open the gates for even more serious harm in the future. If Romney is elected, you will see the same effort, but it will result in a huge partisan fight and that might actually avoid the dreaded legislation. The strategy stems from a simple imperfection in the “rigged” system, but it has proven to work again and again in the past just it did just recently when Boehner overplayed his hand.”

    BB,

    The problem is that you “think” you understand American politics, but your understanding is superficial at best. A Romney victory may well take both the House and Senate on his coattails, since both of them are in play and the polling at this point gives no reason to believe otherwise. If that happens there goes your deadlock you speak about. Even if there is a split in control over the House and Senate, there still will be no “deadlock” and for the reason you can look to the aftermath of the 1980 “Reagan Revolution”. The popular vote percentages were as follows: Reagan: 50.7%, Carter 41% and Anderson 7%.
    While it was true that the electoral college went overwhelmingly for Reagan, 50.7 % does not a mandate make and Congress was still controlled by the Democrats. However, the pundits of the press proclaimed it a “Reagan Revolution” rather than what it really was a Carter repudiation, very specifically due to the “Iran Hostage Crisis”. Democratic politicians react to punditry and mostly “rolled over” for Reagan. The Social Security Tax was doubled and used to pay for a further bloating of the military and the beginning
    of the end of FDR’s legacy began to become undone as we bravely marched into the 80’s decade of “Greed is Good”.

    With Romney we have the ultimate “greed is good” candidate who has also become beholden to regressive religious Fundamentalists. Taxes for the 1% will be cut again; our bare minimum of regulations will be abolished; women’s
    rights will be attacked; gay rights left in shambles; more jobs will be lost; Social Security and Medicare will be privatized and medicaid destroyed; SCOTUS will become overwhelmingly conservative; and so it goes.

    Fear not though BB, because you will have proven yourself to be a “Thoreau” at least in your imagination. So nothing to worry about, they’re all the same.
    You are such a deep strategic thinker ad so much purer a soul than I.

  94. 1zb1,

    Definitions of propaganda (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:

    1) The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those people advocating such a doctrine or cause.

    2) Material disseminated by the advocates of a doctrine or cause: the selected truths, exaggerations, and lies of wratime propaganda.

    *****

    I don’t believe that everything is propaganda. There is a difference between information and propaganda. I don’t agree that the whole point of communicating is to spread propaganda.

  95. Mike S.,

    “With Romney we have the ultimate “greed is good” candidate who has also become beholden to regressive religious Fundamentalists. Taxes for the 1% will be cut again; our bare minimum of regulations will be abolished; women’s rights will be attacked; gay rights left in shambles; more jobs will be lost; Social Security and Medicare will be privatized and medicaid destroyed; SCOTUS will become overwhelmingly conservative; and so it goes.”

    There it is…in a nutshell!

  96. Can we explore the backgrounds of the two Congressmen who are sponsoring this bill? One is named Adam Smith a Democrat from Washington? The other some schmuck from Texas named Mark Thornberry? Is someone making these names up to mock them?

    We certainly do not need a Democrat named Adam Smith and the Berry Patch down there in Texas can do a lot better without this thorn it its side.

    Whoever is running against these two jerks needs to get some propaganda out.

  97. “It is uncanny that propaganda is one of the most prolific forms of literature, but is not easily detected by Brits and Americans.”

    Dredd,

    How true that is especially in your point about all those “news outlets” that are so respected by the “thinking classes”. Given the CIA’s proven capacity to infiltrate their people into major media this bill while potentially noxious really represents nothing new in American propaganda. It is necessary to know about it though, as one more example of how our Constitutional barriers have been breached.

  98. bb: you said: “Mostly, they boil down to one thing; Romney would have his hands tied and gridlock in Washington is the best news Main street can hope for. ”

    in other words you argue gridlock [nothing getting done] is best. and Romney winning will cause more gridlock then Obama so that is good. now that is not quite the same as “nothing matters”. but it is an argument for “nothing” and the more of nothing we have the better. (but you don’t actually demonstrate how that is so or who benefits and in what way from your idea of nothing

    and how is it that a romney divided government is somehow more nothing then the current obama divided government.

    bb i stand corrected, what i should have said your whole concept is full of nothing.

  99. em: you will notice that propaganda definition includes both benign and sinister uses… btw; what is marketing

    1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

  100. BB,

    As an extension of what I wrote at 10:39 am, what bothers me so much about your position is not that you refuse to vote for either of the two major candidates, Gene H., and others here have also said that they will refuse to vote for the “lesser4 of two evils” and I accept their view as principled. The difference with you though and with Jill also, is that you see my voting as evidence of my lack of integrity. Gene and the others, however, accept that my choosing my course is also a matter of integrity, by not disparaging my views while merely stating their views.

  101. “shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States.”

    Is this valid and an operative clause in the new amendment/bill?
    If so there is a key word, which can be used to define what the EFF you say to be legal. The word is “influence). If “they” say that was not the intent, then they are home-free, with whatever.

    It’s like the torture convention and our reservations, “The law must be intended….”. And that’s what they hide behind. “We are not torturing, we are interrogating.”

    As for BB, you did not offer any proof how your and the publics abstention could have a result with a positive outcome. Thus all your talk was for naught.
    verbosity does not obscure that you have nothing to come with. Whatever we choose, a “choice” will be made, and an outcome will come. And two roads can not be traveled.

    I would prefer to feel I chose my way. Just as Mandelstam did in 1933 by reciting his poem on Stalin as the “peasant killer” with “grub-like finger”. He preferred to die a “death by oppression” than “death by moral starvation”.

    You are just trolling I feel, with all due respect. Trollers must serve purposes, although I haven’t figured out which as yet.

  102. MS, your point that we might loose both houses is a good one and I will try to offer an answer when I get a chance but I have to go.

  103. i707: the section says:

    ‘(a) In General- No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States.

    note the use of the term “NO FUNDS… SHALL BE USED”

  104. HOW ABOUT A SIMPLE POLL:

    Voting for Obama X
    Voting for Romney
    Voting for Someone Else
    Not Voting
    Not Eligible to Vote
    Eligible but not Registered

  105. An example of what we’re in for. This shows a Pentagon/contractor misinformation campaign in the US against reporters writing about Pentagon/contractor propaganda in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who try to tell us what’s going on find themselves the subject of more of the same. The activity reported here was stopped specifically because it is illegal for the Pentagon to do so. Remove that illegality and, not only will we be given propaganda, those who try to expose it will be subjected to harsh treatment.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-04-19/vanden-brook-locker-propaganda/54419654/1

    excerpt:
    Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor
    By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
    Updated 4/19/2012 8:48 PM

    WASHINGTON – A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites.
    Sponsored Links

    Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names.

    The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY’s reporting on the military’s “information operations” program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan — campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored.

  106. Might loose both houses. We already lost one in 2010 and the chances of getting it back are rather slim. Most predict the Senate at 49-50 democrats. If Elizabeth Warren could win that would improve the chances. Also need McCaskill to hang on. She has some pretty bad tea party opponents. Barking dog, Thornerry was Boehner’s pick for vice chair of the Armed Services Committee. Told y’all we would get a lot of conservative Texans in charge if the republicans took the house. Smith looks to be in AiPac’s pocket.

  107. Mike S.,
    You hit the nail on the head. A romney victory would be a debacle for Social Security and other necessary programs for the 99%. Not to mention the loss of rights for women.

  108. MS, I don’t criticize your integrity. Being critical of some of your views, and defending myself from your crusade, is not at all the same. I have admitted above that I have put myself in a position of being somewhat nasty (that is my only claim to a similarity with Thoreau). I admire Gene H for avoiding that.

    BUT, I do NOT criticize your integrity.

  109. 1zb1,

    “what is marketing”

    I’m not sure what your point is. That marketing is propaganda? No kidding!
    Is there an agenda behind marketing? Is there an agenda behind the spreading/distribution of propaganda? Is the agenda behind marketing and propaganda merely to inform people…or is it to reflect “the views and interests” of the people who produced the marketing campaigns and the propaganda materials? Is the primary motive of the people who produce propaganda about spreading the truth–or about advocating for their doctrine or cause? I’m not implying that people never tell the truth when they are advocating for their causes.

    I think it always best to be skeptical of what I hear and read until know more about the groups/people promoting causes. There are lots of organizations, think tanks, and PAC’s today that are funded by billionaires and corporations that spread lots of propaganda and misinformation.

  110. Dredd 1, May 21, 2012 at 10:34 am

    “What is the GOP-run House going to legalize next, water?”

    Did you mean “privatize” instead of “legalize”? They’re working on it.

  111. Dredd,

    What is the GOP-run House going to legalize next, water?
    ================================================

    A gallon of water is worth more in the middle east than a gallon of oil. Figure that out.

  112. Idealist707, there is no such thing as proof. You may not like my arguments, that’s fair, but to insist on proof is an impossible request. If it makes you feel good to consider me a troll, so be it. It certainly seems to be one of the most substantive arguments given so far as to why my point of view is wrong (because I might be a troll) All I can say in reply is, “Boo!”

  113. OT:

    BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court Will Hear ACLU Case Challenging Warrantless Wiretapping Law

    By Josh Bell, ACLU at 10:16am

    http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/breaking-news-supreme-court-will-hear-aclu-case-challenging-warrantless

    The Supreme Court has just agreed to consider whether plaintiffs represented by the ACLU have the right to challenge the constitutionality of a controversial law that authorizes the National Security Agency to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls.

    At issue is an appeals court ruling that allowed the ACLU’s challenge to the law – called the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 – to move forward. Responding to today’s news, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said:

    The appeals court properly recognized that our clients have a reasonable basis to fear that the government may be monitoring their conversations, even though it has no reason to suspect them of having engaged in any unlawful activities. The constitutionality of the government’s surveillance powers can and should be tested in court. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree.

    And ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro said:

    Given the importance of this law, the Supreme Court’s decision to grant review is not surprising. What is disappointing is the Obama administration’s effort to insulate the broadest surveillance program ever enacted by Congress from meaningful judicial review.

    The ACLU filed the lawsuit in July 2008 on behalf of a broad group of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose work requires them to engage in sensitive telephone and email communications with people outside the U.S., including colleagues, clients, sources, foreign officials and victims of human rights abuses. The plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, The Nation and the Service Employees International Union. The Justice Department claims the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing they have actually been monitored under the program – but it also argues that the government should not be required to disclose if plaintiffs have been monitored.

    In March 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected that Catch-22 logic. The government’s request for reconsideration by the full Second Circuit was rejected in September by a 6-6 vote.

    Little is known about how the FISA Amendments Act has been used. In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU, the government revealed that every six-month review of the act had identified “compliance incidents,” suggesting either an inability or an unwillingness to properly safeguard Americans’ privacy rights. The government has withheld the details of those “compliance incidents,” however, including statistics relating to abuses of the act.

    The act is scheduled to sunset in December. The ACLU is calling for amendments that would limit surveillance to suspected terrorists and criminals, require the government to be more transparent about how the law is being used and place stronger restrictions on the retention and dissemination of information that is collected. (end of article)

  114. An omen of things to come if the Republicans retain the House, gain the Senate, and Romney is elected president?

    *****

    Missouri Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Employers To Deny Access To Birth Control
    By Amanda Peterson Beadle on May 21, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/21/487438/missouri-employers-block-contraception-coverage/

    Missouri legislators passed a bill Friday that allows employers or health insurance providers to stop offering coverage for contraception, abortion, or sterilization if doing so violates their religious or moral convictions. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon (D), who has not said whether he supports the legislation.

    The measure mirrors a federal restriction proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that has not progressed in Congress and is designed to push back against the Obama administration’s rule requiring contraception coverage to be included in insurance plans at no additional cost.

    While some Democrats opposed the anti-contraception bill, it passed the Senate 28-6 and the House 105-33:

    The bill states that no employer or health plan provider can be compelled to provide coverage _ or be penalized for refusing to cover _ abortion, contraception or sterilization if those items run contrary to their religious or moral convictions. The bill also gives the state attorney general grounds to sue other governmental officials or entities that infringe on the rights granted in the legislation.

    “This bill is about religious freedom and moral convictions,” said Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo. “This is about sending a message to the federal government that we don’t like things rammed down our throat.”

    But state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) said the bill endangering women’s access to health care was more of an attack on “women’s reproductive choices” than a message to the federal government. “This is wrong and I dare you to go home and talk to your daughters … and say, ‘Look, what we’re going to say is that your employers’ religious beliefs matter more than your own,’” Newman told colleagues.

    In 2006, 53 percent of pregnancies in Missouri were unintended, 61 percent of which resulted in live births and 25 percent resulted in induced abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 65 percent of births that were unintended were publicly funded, compared to 50 percent of all births and 37 percent of intended pregnancies.

  115. anon nurse,

    The appeals court properly recognized that our clients have a reasonable basis to fear that the government may be monitoring their conversations, even though it has no reason to suspect them of having engaged in any unlawful activities. The constitutionality of the government’s surveillance powers can and should be tested in court. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree.
    ========================================================
    Keep hoping. The United States isn’t Poland.

  116. SwM,

    “Also need McCaskill to hang on. ”

    I can’t, no matter how hard I try, rationalize supporting her. She talks a good game but as a career politician who has spent all but three years of her career living off the public tit, her actual accomplishments are minimal. She knows how to work the system by lining up on the winning side when playing the internal politics of the Democratic Party.

    Were I a voter in Missouri this is one race I’d have to refuse to mark or do a write-in.

  117. An omen of things to come if the Republicans retain the House, gain the Senate, and Romney is elected president?

    Who, pray tell, is responsible for this?

    Given the importance of this law, the Supreme Court’s decision to grant review is not surprising. What is disappointing is the Obama administration’s effort to insulate the broadest surveillance program ever enacted by Congress from meaningful judicial review.

  118. There is a general awareness of the revolving door between government and corporations. There is also a relationship between government and media that is disconcert\ting. Wayne Madsen has a chart
    http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/categories/20070423_1
    that shows more than 50 of “those members of the corporate media and public relations spin machine, and their mostly GOP/neo-con shill relatives, especially their spouses”

    Examples:

    Chelsea Clinton, NBC News correspondent
    Bill Clinton (father)
    Hillary Clinton (mother)

    Meghan McCain, MS-NBC contributor
    Sen. John McCain (father)

    Jenna Bush Hager, reporter, NBC Today show
    George W. Bush (father)

    James Carville, NBC Meet the Press guest, Hillary Clinton adviser and promoter of the corporate-funded and anti-labor and anti-progressive Democratic Leadership Council.
    Mary Matalin (wife) Long-time confidante of Vice President Dick Cheney and was a member of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which helped “sell the war” in Iraq. Matalin and Carville often appear on Meet the Press together as dueling Washington insiders — which is a ruse designed to deceive the public.

    Chris Matthews, NBC and MS-NBC, Hardball host
    Jim Matthews (brother), GOP Lt. Gov, running mate of 2006 GOP gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania Lynn Swann.
    Kathleen Matthews (wife) Executive Vice President for Global Communications and Public Affairs at Marriott International. Willard Mitt Romney is named for J. Willard Marriott, the founder of the corporation who was also a close friend of the Romney family.

    Brit Hume, Managing Editor, Fox News, Washington
    Kim Schiller Hume (wife), Former Fox News Washington Bureau Chief, Vice President Fox News.
    Virginia Hume (daughter) Attorney with Quinn & Gillespie, co-founded by former RNC Chair and current top Bush aide Ed Gillespie.

    John Ellis, Fox News
    George W. Bush (cousin), In charge of 2000 election projections for Fox News.

    Tucker Carlson, MSNBC
    Richard Carlson (father) Vice Chairman of neo-con Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), member Scooter Libby Legal Defense Fund Trust

    Bob Schieffer, CBS News
    Tom Schieffer (brother) U.S. Ambassador to Japan, former U.S. Ambassador to Australia, former President of the Texas Rangers baseball team when G. W. Bush made millions from a $700,000 investment as general partner.

    Andrea Mitchell, NBC News
    Alan Greenspan (husband) Former Chairman, Federal Reserve Bank

    Robert Kagan, Columnist, Washington Post, Co-founder of Project for the New American Century (PNAC),
    Victoria Nuland (wife), Bush administration Permanent Representative to NATO.
    Fred Kagan (brother), Resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute and major force behind the “surge” in Iraq.
    Donald Kagan (father), West Point miltary professor. Leading neocon.

    Christiane Amanpour, CNN
    Jamie Rubin (husband), Former Madeleine Albright press spokesman

    Claire Shipman, ABC News Good Morning America
    Jay Carney (husband), Obama White House Press Secretary

  119. Brooklin Bridge,

    Elaine M. 1, May 21, 2012 at 11:44 am

    An omen of things to come if the Republicans retain the House, gain the Senate, and Romney is elected president?

    Missouri Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Employers To Deny Access To Birth Control
    By Amanda Peterson Beadle on May 21, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/21/487438/missouri-employers-block-contraception-coverage/

    **********
    You wrote in reply:
    Who, pray tell, is responsible for this?

    Given the importance of this law, the Supreme Court’s decision to grant review is not surprising. What is disappointing is the Obama administration’s effort to insulate the broadest surveillance program ever enacted by Congress from meaningful judicial review.

    *****

    Did you read the ThinkProgress article?

  120. Blouise, If you saw the tea party anti-woman woman that is running against her, you might mark x for her. The other one is a hard right man.

  121. bettykath,

    Good for you. Ask Greta Van Susteren how her plastic surgery went. Does she still want some Moose chili? Don’t bother calling Ann Coulter.

  122. “The bill states that no employer or health plan provider can be compelled to provide coverage _ or be penalized for refusing to cover _ abortion, contraception or sterilization if those items run contrary to their religious or moral convictions. The bill also gives the state attorney general grounds to sue other governmental officials or entities that infringe on the rights granted in the legislation.”

    Amazing! Absoluting f… amazing. I didn’t know that corporations had religious or (egads) moral convictions. Oh, wait, definitions…. religious convictions…..lots of religions, new ones popping up all the time. Moral convictions…..they can change over time….maybe some people, the artificial ones especially, have their own that don’t match mine. Wonder how those artificial persons determine their religious or moral convictions…..mmmm, bottom line $$$$$$$$$$$$$ religion?

  123. 1zb1,

    It also still stands “used to influence” Who defines what the purpose of the funding is? The government and the Office of Legal Counsel in each department with guidance from the White House will define it generally and even line item by item if necessary.

    Are you really incapable of reading? And using your brain of course. Can you chew gum and walk?

    I don’t believe you will have to wait long to find out what happens. Watch for next seasons previews.

  124. Bettykath,
    I too have muttered how a corporation can have religious beliefs?! The Money is the answer to all questions coming out of the Right.

  125. em: you said: “Is the primary motive of the people who produce propaganda about spreading the truth–or about advocating for their doctrine or cause? I’m not implying that people never tell the truth when they are advocating for their causes. ” so what is wrong with advocating for a cause….. when tobacco co market (advocate) for people to smoke when they know it kills you and then use manipulative/deceptive methods there is clearly something wrong.

    if we try and promote the idea abroad that all Americans are not infadels is that bad. If the government does commercials about the features of the health care bill is that bad…. i don’t think one can make blanket statements that everything is bad.

    i707: since you seem to want to trade insults rather then converse like an adult lets just get it over with now: your an idiot.

  126. “MS, I don’t criticize your integrity. Being critical of some of your views, and defending myself from your crusade, is not at all the same.”

    BB,

    Thank you for that, sincerely. I think though you should again review my numerous comments to understand that I am not on a crusade to get people to vote for Obama. Unlike 2008 I have not contributed one cent to his campaign. Also unlike 2008 I will not become involved in his election campaign which has locally asked me to do so. I explained to them in length, perhaps longer than they wished to hear, how disappointed I’ve been in him and gave so many specifics that I think I upset the caller. To state my position once again, after having spent a 37 year career assisting oppressed people of every description and actively acting in that context at some risk to myself professionally, I do not want to see further misery placed upon the 99%. I am not certain that my vote can help anything, because truthfully things are perhaps already too far gone, but it costs me nothing to make the effort.

  127. For those who say “so it goes” and “that’s it in a nutshell”. From nutshells, usually mighty trees grow.

    Some of them quite poisonous. And some bear surprisingly unexpected fruits. Romney and his people will certainly surprise us. Ssdly.

    I won’t make a list, don’t want to give any ideas.
    But now is the time fo turn, but Malisha says it is too big a ship. Perhaps she is right.

    This domestication of propaganda, which explicitly excludes all forms from restriction except diplomatic information, as well as that too are the death knell of freedom of speech. When all channels are bought (Dredd,) and the monies are essentially unlimited for propaganda, then what space can free speech command?

  128. bettykath,

    Amazing! Absoluting f… amazing. I didn’t know that corporations had religious or (egads) moral convictions. Oh, wait, definitions…. religious convictions…..lots of religions, new ones popping up all the time. Moral convictions…..they can change over time….maybe some people, the artificial ones especially, have their own that don’t match mine. Wonder how those artificial persons determine their religious or moral convictions…..mmmm, bottom line $$$$$$$$$$$$$ religion?
    =========================================================
    I was born protestant. I’m agnostic. My Navy dog tag shows “No Rel Pref.”

  129. 1zb1,

    You wrote: “i don’t think one can make blanket statements that everything is bad.”

    I had previously written the following: “I’m not implying that people never tell the truth when they are advocating for their causes.”

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with advocating for a cause–as long as one tells the truth about the cause and it is a just cause. Of course, some may have different opinions about what a just cause is. I DO think we have to be wary of what we hear and read in the news. A lot of what we get isn’t hard facts/information. It’s propaganda and talking points.

    Speaking for myself–I don’t want the government spending billions of tax dollars to produce propaganda that is meant to sway my opinion about the war in Afghanistan, the use of drones in this country, the use of warrant-less wiretapping, etc.

  130. Matt,

    I don’t have TV so had to look up Greta Van Susteren. She seems to be a Palin supporter. Wonder why? She “married tort lawyer John P. Coale in 1988. Coale, a self-described ‘ambulance chaser’, became known as ‘Bhopal Coale’ for his solicitation of clients among victims of the Bhopal disaster. He has served as an adviser for Sarah Palin.”

  131. BB,

    My original comment was to YOUR contention that abstaining from voting was a viable strategy.

    To that I asked for you to produce an example of one which has súcceeded historically or to outline how it would work today.

    So far you have produced nothing of what I asked for.

    You have not even said that the request was invalid and for what reasons. You thus avoid the issue.
    What you call that I don’t know.

    But you are producing words which don’t advance or even address the issue. Which is your original claim, which I challenged.

    Can you address the issue? I don’t think you will.

  132. em, like so many of the “conversations” on this blog – dare i say all – it routinely descends from the absurd to the ridicules; and from something vaguely resembling an actual discussion of the issue at hand to an exchange of insults; from paying a fine becomes forcing you to eat broccoli, and now in your case from setting rules for disclosing information to now causing the holocaust.

    i have only myself to blame for wasting my time here, and jt for letting it persist.

  133. A bit off topic but I want to share. Wayne Madsen has a special added feature.

    “GOLDEN FECES AWARD

    “In April, Greek anti-austerity protesters dropped off a replica of a golden turd at the German embassy in Athens. The giant curled turd was covered in gold paper. In honor of these protesters, WMR will, every Friday, name its recipient of the “Golden Feces” award. The winner will be the person or institution that demonstrated an utter disregard for the common folk or the truth or just plain common sense during the previous week’s news cycle.

    “The WMR Golden Feces award will be presented and posted on the public page of WMR based on nominations from you, the subscribers, on Thursday evening of each week. To make your nominations, please indicate on the Thursday forum dedicated to the nomination, your choice and a brief explanation of why. When able, WMR will forward the announcement of the award by e-mail to the recipient.”

    I have such a list and he wants only one!!

  134. bettykath 1, May 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Dredd 1, May 21, 2012 at 10:34 am

    “What is the GOP-run House going to legalize next, water?”

    Did you mean “privatize” instead of “legalize”? They’re working on it.

    Matt Johnson 1, May 21, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Dredd,

    What is the GOP-run House going to legalize next, water?
    ================================================

    A gallon of water is worth more in the middle east than a gallon of oil. Figure that out.
    *******************************************
    I was sorta remembering my kids telling me about a certain character on Sesame Street, “Forgetful Jones” I think it was, who was always inventing things that had already been invented.

    Legalizing propaganda in the U.S.eh? would be an example of that, in the sense that it is not only legal, it is a billion dollar industry.

  135. I was sorta remembering my kids telling me about a certain character on Sesame Street, “Forgetful Jones” I think it was, who was always inventing things that had already been invented.

    Legalizing propaganda in the U.S.eh? would be an example of that, in the sense that it is not only legal, it is a billion dollar industry.
    =========================================================
    Stay away from the Lemonade.

  136. 1zb1,

    “em, like so many of the “conversations” on this blog – dare i say all – it routinely descends from the absurd to the ridicules; and from something vaguely resembling an actual discussion of the issue at hand to an exchange of insults; from paying a fine becomes forcing you to eat broccoli, and now in your case from setting rules for disclosing information to now causing the holocaust.

    “i have only myself to blame for wasting my time here, and jt for letting it persist.’

    *****

    You can read whatever you choose to read into my comments. It appeared to me–and you can correct me if I misintrepreted your argument–that you have no problem with government produced propaganda paid for by the taxpayers. You appear to think that a government will never have bad/evil intentions when spreading/distributing propaganda. It was our government that fed propaganda to journalists like Judith Miller that helped the Bush Administration sway the opinion of many citizens–and also members of the media–about the advisabilty of starting a preemptive war with Iraq.

    You can denigrate my argument all you want. I think I made a valid point about government propaganda. Should I assume that you believe that Nazi propaganda did no harm to the Jews who lived in Germany?

  137. You can read whatever you choose to read into my comments. It appeared to me–and you can correct me if I misintrepreted your argument–that you have no problem with government produced propaganda paid for by the taxpayers. You appear to think that a government will never have bad/evil intentions when spreading/distributing propaganda. It was our government that fed propaganda to journalists like Judith Miller that helped the Bush Administration sway the opinion of many citizens–and also members of the media–about the advisabilty of starting a preemptive war with Iraq.

    You can denigrate my argument all you want. I think I made a valid point about government propaganda. Should I assume that you believe that Nazi propaganda did no harm to the Jews who lived in Germany?
    ===========================================================
    Is mission accomplished? Stay off the aircraft carriers.

  138. BB,

    I understand your not wanting to participate in something that’s corrupt. May I suggest an alternative? Vote, but vote for someone other than a candidate of the two-headed party. We already have a very large contingent not participating. What we need is more people being active in their non-support.

    I think voter participation would go up if none-of-the-above were on every ballot.

    On the downside, with the privately developed computer voting machines, there is no guarantee that your vote will be counted, or counted as you intended, but still, maybe it will be. Btw, “Tests of a number of electronic voting machines that recorded shockingly high numbers of extra votes in the 2010 election show that overheating may have caused upwards of 30 percent of votes in some South Bronx voting precincts to go uncounted. WNYC first reported on the issue in December 2011, when it was found that tens of thousands of votes in the 2010 elections went uncounted because electronic voting machines counted more than one vote in a race.

  139. Matt Johnson 1, May 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    bettykath,

    Stay out of India. Go play games in Baja instead..
    =======================
    Huh?

  140. em: this was a discussion about a bill related to the use of certain kinds of information. it was generally mischaracterized in the Hastings article; further mischaracterized in your blog; and further further mischaracterized by others.

    i doubt you even read the bill brefore even writing about it.

    from there you have gone from to what is propaganda; and from there to the use of propaganda and its relationship to the holocaust; and from there to all “propaganda” by the government contributes to holocaust:

    em: you asked me: “Should I assume that you believe that Nazi propaganda did no harm to the Jews who lived in Germany?”

    em, I’m sure in some way you are ernast and mean well, but can i tell you i really just have no interest in talking to you further about this.

    What is wrong with you people!

  141. I’m not a lawyer, I’m an accountant. I don’t know how to write legal rules. There are rules, you know.

  142. 1zb1,

    “What is wrong with you people!”

    That we don’t agree with you? That we don’t play by your rules?

    *****

    I thought this post WAS about government propaganda. One would think that talking about what propaganda is and how propaganda has been used by governments in the past IS pertinent to this discussion. Sorry I didn’t limit my comments to points that you believe are pertinent to the discussion.

  143. Matt Johnson 1, May 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I was sorta remembering my kids telling me about a certain character on Sesame Street, “Forgetful Jones” I think it was, who was always inventing things that had already been invented.

    Legalizing propaganda in the U.S.eh? would be an example of that, in the sense that it is not only legal, it is a billion dollar industry.
    =========================================================
    Stay away from the Lemonade.
    *********************************************************************
    *********************************************************************
    Indeed, and stay away from the tin foil hats too, as you watch the word morph.

    Words are one of the prime targets of propagandists:

    I once heard the saying “Your mother wears combat boots” as a child, and wondered what it really meant. I detected that it could be derogatory but was not sure.

    One source zeros in on the origin as:

    Armys in the field used to have “camp followers” who were , in essence, prostitutes for the soldiers. The first thing they would bargain for was a good pair of boots because following an army involves walking through a lot of muck, as you can imagine! So the insult evolved among soldiers and is like saying “You son of a whore!”

    (AskVille). Ouch! It was derogatory. Many sources come to the same conclusion that it originated about WW I, and was derogatory.

    War was considered to be America’s greatest enemy by great patriots of old, and thus the derogatory link.

    To apply the saying to a deity would simply be another way of saying “My god is better than your god“.

    (Your God Wears Combat Boots), This change in meaning of this phrase is one of the fingerprints of propaganda. There are countless others.

  144. Dredd,

    I was in the Navy. I wore boots, and I had a knife. There aren’t any foxholes in the ocean.

    Watch out for preachers who don’t know what they’re talking about. And don’t drink the lemonade.

    My apology to bettykath. Maybe I’ll buy a Harley.

  145. Idealist707, you have simply re-stated the same charge in a slightly different way so I will simply re-answer in kind.

    It sounds like you are asking me to prove in political terms that a geometrical figure with three sides is a triangle. I can’t “prove” that Romney would be contained by gridlock or partisan struggle, but I can claim based on past history that it is a reasonable assumption. It is demonstrably why George Bush’s assault on the safety net failed, for instance.

    But it has become clear that you were not asking me for proof of anything anyway. At least not in some reasonable manner to which I could respond. You were simply trying to set me up for an opinion you had already formed; namely that I’m a troll. I said, “Boo!” Aren’t you happy now?

  146. Matt,
    In which case you get the bitch seat, and she drives. Well deserved on your part. Didn’t recognize you today.

    I was a soldier, and the only time I looked for a foxhole was when the gas tank got empty over the Yuma
    Mountains. Could not land a helicopter, much less a Beaver. We did not have parachutes.

  147. ID707,

    Nobody gives a rat-ass whether or not you have a parachute. And don’t piss off the Beavers. I went to Boise State.

  148. bettykath,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Voting third party or for a write in is probably what I will do. But that doesn’t stop me from asking the question about Romney in particular and about the fear factor of leaving the Democrats and their party in general (It is no longer my party).

    Again, the assumption that it’s OK to criticize Democrats/Obama as long as you vote for them very much needs to be challenged. If that is what someone wants to do with their vote based on a belief in either, fine, but if they agree that Obama is committing atrocities, or if they recognize that Democrats haven’t fought hard for progressive legislation since the 80’s, and haven’t succeeded in getting any passed since the 70’s (and even then) then one can reasonably ask them to review the sanity of it, never mind the practicality. They instantly render themselves and any demand for change or improvement totally, utterly, tragically irrelevant. Is doing so not simply perpetuating/enabling the political equivalent of battered wife syndrome?

    It’s possible that voting simply goes to binary la-la land now-a-days, but it’s more likely that even with considerable abuse, it still counts for a lot. Something tells me that Pols want not only to fool people, but to then get lots of love from them in the form of ballots. To me, the greatest corruption right now exists not in voting, nor in the counting of the votes, but rather in how it is decided who we get to choose from. For instance, it should come as little surprise what a poor choice we have in 2012. Obama or perhaps Obama or what about splitting that up, O-B-A-M-A?. With this economy, and all these people getting illegally thrown out of their houses with no bankers even being challenged, never mind brought to trial, and all these wars that never really end, and all the new ones, such as in Yemen, being started, one would think there would be a whole slew of Democratic candidates to choose from.

  149. Matt,

    Thanks for the explanation and the apology. If I do a motorcycle, I drive. And I decide who rides with me. Those who ride with me will be appreciated and will not be debased. No bitch seat. Get your own bike and we ride side by side.

  150. I do hope Walker loses in Wisconsin. I may have to ask Mr. O’Keefe to send his cameras to follow me to make sure that I don’t vote in my neighboring state of Wisconsin! :)

  151. shano,

    I already got my hair cut in boot camp. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. BTW – The girls didn’t have to get their hair cut. We used to call the girl Marines BAM’S. Don’t ask me what that means.

  152. bettykath,

    Thanks for the explanation and the apology. If I do a motorcycle, I drive. And I decide who rides with me. Those who ride with me will be appreciated and will not be debased. No bitch seat. Get your own bike and we ride side by side.
    ==========================================================
    I used to have a Honda 750. I think the next one will be a Harley.

  153. Matt Johnson 1, May 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I already put in an absentee ballot. Scott Walker is going down.
    ===========================
    That would be great.

  154. Matt Johnson 1, May 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Dredd,

    I was in the Navy. I wore boots, and I had a knife. There aren’t any foxholes in the ocean.

    Watch out for preachers who don’t know what they’re talking about. And don’t drink the lemonade.

    My apology to bettykath. Maybe I’ll buy a Harley.
    ========================================
    My point was that the curse “your mother wears combat boots” became a blessing through the power of propaganda.

    It seems I failed to convey that message clearly. Sorry.

  155. Dredd,

    Don’t be sorry. Just because you think the message didn’t get through doesn’t mean it didn’t.

  156. It seems to me that if America already has a law prohibiting our military-with-a-government from propagandizing the American electorate — otherwise known as “the enemy” — then that law needs no amendment.

  157. Matt,

    You had said you had been in the Navy, thus calling you seaman was appropriate. But fireman is OK too.

    And let me congratulate you in being the first at Turley’s to tell me to stay in Sweden. Do you often tell people to go back where they came from? Same-same. Very brief, but hardly an argument, wouldn’t you agree.

    Personally, I believe you have been drunk this evening.
    That’s why I said to go back to your ship as you are not in shore shape.
    But being inebriated, which induces a certain incredible stubbornness in those who inbibe, you will not take a hint.
    You have been amusing, But hardly as you thought you were.
    Others have been kind to you, which is part of being human and SOP. Humor drunks, they can go bad, and besides they are pitiful.

    Ever thought of joining the AA? Good idea. Recommend it.

  158. ID707,

    Thanks for the compliments. I got out of the Navy in 1982. Haven’t been on a ship since.

  159. Spinning Afghanistan, America’s longest war
    According to a military whistleblower, army leaders are practising a deception on the US public about this unwinnable war
    By Amy Goodman
    2/16/12
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/16/spinning-afghanistan-americas-longest-war

    Excerpt:
    Eight youths, tending their flock of sheep in the snowy fields of Afghanistan, were exterminated last week by a Nato airstrike. They were in the Najrab district of Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan. Most were reportedly between the ages of 6 and 14. They had sought shelter near a large boulder, and had built a fire to stay warm.

    At first, Nato officials claimed they were armed men. The Afghan government condemned the bombing and released photos of some of the victims. By Wednesday, Nato offered, in a press release, “deep regret to the families and loved ones of several Afghan youths who died during an air engagement in Kapisa province Feb 8.”

    Those eight killed were not that different in age from Lance Cpl Osbrany Montes De Oca, 20, of North Arlington, New Jersey. He was killed two days later, 10 February, while on duty in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. These nine young, wasted lives will be the latest footnote in the longest war in United States history, a war that is being perpetuated, according to one brave, whistleblowing US Army officer, through a “pattern of overt and substantive deception” by “many of America’s most senior military leaders in Afghanistan”.

    Those are the words written by Lt Col Danny Davis in his 84-page report, “Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort” (pdf). A draft of that report, dated 27 January 2012, was obtained by Rolling Stone magazine. It has not been approved by the US Army public affairs office for release, even though Davis writes that its contents are not classified. He has submitted a classified version to members of Congress.

    Davis, a 17-year army veteran with four combat tours behind him, spent a year in Afghanistan with the army’s rapid equipping force, traveling more than 9,000 miles to most operational sectors of the US occupation and learning firsthand what the troops said they needed most. In a piece he wrote in Armed Forces Journal (AFJ), titled “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan”, Davis wrote of his experience:

    What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by US military leaders about conditions on the ground.

    Speaking out is strongly discouraged in the US military, especially against one’s superiors. His whistleblowing was picked up by the New York Times and Rolling Stone, whose reporter, Michael Hastings, told me:

    “The fact is that you have a 17-year army veteran who’s done four tours – two in Afghanistan and two in Iraq – who has decided to risk his entire career (he has two and a half more years left before he gets a pension) because he feels that he has a moral obligation to do so.”

    Davis interviewed more than 250 people – US military personnel and Afghan nationals – in his recent year in the war zone. He compared what he learned from them with optimistic projections from the likes of David Petraeus, former head of the military’s CentCom and of the US military in Afghanistan, and now head of the CIA, who told Congress on 15 March 2011, that:

    “[T]he momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country, and reversed in a number of important areas.”

    In his AFJ piece, Davis wrote:

    “Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level … insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a US or International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) base.”

    His observations concur with the death of Osbrany Montes de Oca. His girlfriend, Maria Samaniego, told the New York Daily News, “He was walking out of the base and he was immediately shot.”

  160. Those eight killed were not that different in age from Lance Cpl Osbrany Montes De Oca, 20, of North Arlington, New Jersey. He was killed two days later, 10 February, while on duty in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
    ===========================================================
    We used to make fun of the New Jersey guys. I’m not sure why, they didn’t deserve it.

  161. Adam Weinstein of Mother Jones thinks that Juan Cole, I, and other progressives are worked up over nothing:

    Is Congress Really Authorizing US Propaganda at Home?
    Progressives are worked up over a new “brainwashing” law for misguided reasons.
    —By Adam Weinstein
    | Tue May. 22, 2012
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/05/congress-propaganda

    *****

    Read Weinstein’s article. Let me know what you think about his argument.

    *****

    Excerpt from Weinstein’s article:
    “The argument against Thornberry’s and Smith’s amendment appears to be pretty straightforward: We only want US propaganda peddled to foreign populations, but not to our own! In reality, though, most “public diplomacy” is mundane boilerplate about America’s purple mountains’ majesties. (And a lot of it is laughably ineffective. I should know: I spent nearly a year preparing upbeat, if technically accurate, press releases for the US Army in Iraq about Sunni militias reconciling with the Shiite-dominated government. Four years later, the two sides still don’t get a long very well.)”

    1) Was that my argument? I don’t think so–but maybe Weinstein knows better than I.

    2) Weinstein wrote that he spent a year “preparing upbeat, if technically accurate, press releases for the US Army in Iraq…” Would that be propaganda that he prepared for the army? He also asks: “And isn’t the American public capable of sorting through self-serving state PR?”

    Is Weinstein’s argument that propaganda is often ineffective and that the American public is “capable of sorting through it” so we shouldn’t get our knickers in a twist over it?

  162. Elaine M.,

    The Sunnis and Shiites hate each other the same way the Catholics and Protestants hate each other. Do you think that’s going to change? I don’t need to read Weinstein’s article.

    If they don’t have any one else to fight with, they will fight with each other. Stop buying their oil. Mr. Kissinger was asked about the Iraq/Iran war. He said, as long as they’re killing each other we don’t have to worry about it. That won’t change.

  163. Truth, lies and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down
    Written by LT. COL. DANIEL L. DAVIS
    Posted: 11 February 2012
    http://www.just-international.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5164:truth-lies-and-afghanistan-how-military-leaders-have-let-us-down&catid=45:recent-articles&Itemid=123

    Excerpt:
    I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

    What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

    Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

    Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.

  164. Elaine,

    Ask the British how they got along in Afghanistan. Perhaps you should ask the Russians instead. Nothing has changed.

  165. NDAA Amendment Would Legalize War Propaganda
    John Glaser, May 21, 2012
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/05/21/ndaa-amendment-would-legalize-war-propaganda/

    Excerpt:
    The legislation banning propaganda aimed at Americans has not meant the end of propaganda, with a sycophantic mass media filling in for the state all along the way. But even the government’s war propaganda has managed to persist. Recent reports published by USA Today exposed the dubious nature and exorbitant costs of the Pentagon’s “Information Operations,” (IO) which the newspaper described as “the modern equivalent of psychological warfare,” or war propaganda. In fact, soon after the reports were published, the journalists were targeted in a misinformation campaign. If it was done using federal funds, it could be a direct violation of Smith-Mundt or the FRAA.

    Propaganda has always been with us. During the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson set up the Committee on Public Information (CPI), a propaganda ministry meant to build public support for the war effort. The CPI distributed propaganda in news stories, street posters, advertisements, and hollywood films. It launched pro-war lecture circuits to mobilize public opinion, and publicly criticizing the president or the war effort was essentially criminalized.

    “The propagandists in World War II,” writes historian Susan A. Brewer, ” following in the footsteps of the Committee on Public Information, while attempting to avoid their predecessor’s mistakes.”

    The OWI’s [Office of War Information] objective, acknowledged privately, was the “coordination, synchronization, embellishment, emphasis, manipulation and distribution of facts as information rather than…gross overstatements and exaggerated misrepresentations.” To mobilize the population, the OWI drew on familiar advertising techniques such as repetition, catchy slogans, and celebrity endorsement.

    …On December 16, 1941, President Roosevelt set up the Office of Censorship, headed by Associated Press executive news editor Byron Price. The Office of Censorship had authority over all civilian communication…Before news organizations released a story, Price wanted them to ask themselves, “Is this information I would like to have if I were the enemy?” In a 1942 press conference, he and [OWI Director Elmer] Davis explained the relationship of the Office of Censorship and the OWI with the news media. Price announced, “We tell what they cannot print.” Davis said, “We give them stuff we hope they will print.”

    But a modern phenomenon really put a stick in the spokes of the government’s attempts to treat the public like mushrooms and the mass media’s efforts to dominate the airwaves with regurgitated state spin. By making vast amounts of historical, political, and economic literature freely and immediately accessible, the Internet has belittled the the government’s aim of keeping the public ignorant. As the saying goes, information is power – and when citizens have more of it, the government has less.

    According to the report from Hastings, the amendment’s sponsors have the Internet specifically in mind:

    …Thornberry warned that in the Internet age, the current law “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.”

    The bill’s supporters say the informational material used overseas to influence foreign audiences is too good to not use at home, and that new techniques are needed to help fight Al-Qaeda, a borderless enemy whose own propaganda reaches Americans online.

    In other words, people are getting information online that we don’t want people to have – therefore, legalize domestic propaganda. So NDAA is the latest effort by Congress (after SOPA, CISPA and the others) to take control of the best resource the American people have. The Internet is too open, too free, too…subversive. We need information the government wants us to have, not all that other stuff.

  166. NDAA Authorizes War Against Iran
    Posted: 05/17/2012
    By Dennis Kucinich
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-dennis-kucinich/ndaa-authorizes-war-again_b_1524474.html

    Excerpt:
    This week, Congress is considering two pieces of legislation relating to Iran. The first undermines a diplomatic solution with Iran and lowers the bar for war. The second authorizes a war of choice against Iran and begins military preparations for it.

    H.Res.568: Eliminating the Most Viable Alternative to War

    The House is expected to vote on H.Res. 568. Read the resolution. Section (6) rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Section (7) urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to Iranian enrichment.

    This language represents a significant shift in U.S. policy and would guarantee that talks with Iran, currently scheduled for May 23, would fail. Current U.S. policy is that Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons. Instead, H. Res. 568 draws the “redline” for military action at Iran achieving a nuclear weapons “capability,” a nebulous and undefined term that could include a civilian nuclear program. Indeed, it is likely that a negotiated deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to prevent war would provide for Iranian enrichment for peaceful purposes under the framework of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty with strict safeguards and inspections. This language makes such a negotiated solution impossible.

    At the same time, the language lowers the threshold for attacking Iran. Countries with nuclear weapons “capability” could include many other countries like Japan or Brazil. It is an unrealistic threshold.

    The Former Chief of Staff of Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that this resolution “reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war.”

    H.R. 4310: Authorizing War Against Iran and Preparing the Military for it

    While H. Res. 568 undermines our diplomatic efforts and lowers the bar for war, H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 begins military preparations for war. Section 1221 makes military action against Iran a U.S. policy. Section 1222 directs our armed forces to prepare for war.

    SEC. 1221. DECLARATION OF POLICY.

    (a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:

    (2) At the same time, Iran may soon attain a nuclear weapons capability, a development that would threaten United States interests, destabilize the region, encourage regional nuclear proliferation, further empower and embolden Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provide it the tools to threaten its neighbors, including Israel.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as U.S. and Israeli intelligence, have all agreed that Iran does not currently have a nuclear bomb, is not building a nuclear weapon and does not have plans to do so. Both U.S. and Israeli officials also agree that a strike on Iran would only delay their nuclear program and actually encourage them to pursue a nuclear weapon.

    Sustained, diplomatic engagement with Iran is the only way to ensure transparency and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Rejecting or thwarting any inspections-based deal we are currently seeking with Iran, even when analysts are expressing guarded optimism that a near term deal is achievable, makes pre-emptive military action against Iran more likely.

    (7) In order to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the United States, in cooperation with its allies, must utilize all elements of national power including diplomacy, robust economic sanctions, and credible, visible preparations for a military option.

    Pursuing these non-diplomatic options, contrary to popular myth, does not help negotiations. U.S. policy toward Iran for the last three decades has primarily taken the form of economic sanctions, threats and isolation. None of these things has created meaningful change in the behavior of the Iranian government or achieved the transparency we seek. In fact, history has demonstrated that sanctions often preclude war; they do not prevent it. Sanctions hurt the same ordinary Iranians that we claim to support, and undermine their efforts to encourage democratic change in their country. Threatening military action against Iran can only undermine sensitive and critical diplomatic negotiations that could be our last chance to achieve the transparency and cooperation we seek from the Iranian government.

    (8) Nevertheless, to date, diplomatic overtures, sanctions, and other non-kinetic actions toward Iran have not caused the Government of Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

    The United States, IAEA and Israel have all publically recognized that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. In a January 2012 interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated unequivocally that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon. This clause further ignores that the U.S. and Iran have barely engaged in direct negotiations. Prior to last month’s negotiations, the U.S. and Iran had only engaged in 45 minutes of direct talks since 2009.

    (b) Declaration of Policy- It shall be the policy of the United States to take all necessary measures, including military action if required, to prevent Iran from threatening the United States, its allies, or Iran’s neighbors with a nuclear weapon.

    This is an authorization for the use of military force against Iran. It ignores the warnings of both current and former U.S. top military brass who have spoken in opposition to the use of military force against Iran, including former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. A February 2012 poll demonstrated that less than 20% of the Israeli public supports an Israeli strike on Iran if approved by the United States. Congress must avoid the same mistakes it made in the Iraq war and reject any language that can be construed as authorizing war against Iran.

  167. Elaine,

    Ronald Reagan was a member of the Army Band. He played the piano at officer’s clubs in California for all of WWII.

  168. War Propaganda Corporate Media Steers World Toward Disaster
    By Kurt Nimmo
    Infowars.com
    February 18, 2012
    http://www.infowars.com/war-propaganda-corporate-media-steers-world-toward-disaster/

    Excerpt:
    The establishment media has slipped into overdrive. It is determined to fan the flames of hysteria and set the stage for a devastating attack on Iran.

    On Thursday, CNN’s Erin Burnet interviewed New York’s Rep. Peter King who said Iran will unleash Hezbollah in America and the result will be worse than an attack with ballistic missiles.

    King and Burnet threw around a slew of lies and fabrications in order to fan the flames of hysteria – from the cartoonish plot by a failed Iranian used car salesman to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador cooked up by the DEA and the FBI to highly suspect and largely inept attacks on Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand.

    Law enforcement officials in New York and Los Angeles “are keeping an eye out for potential Iranian operatives or anyone with links to the country’s proxy terrorist group, Hezbollah,” reports Fox News. The public can now expect more cops dressed in black with automatic weapons at airports, subways and bus terminals.

    Following attacks in India, Georgia and Thailand attributed to Iran and Hezbollah by Israel, the United States and the corporate media, the NYPD’s intelligence boss said Iran is the number one threat to the Big Apple.

  169. Big oil is the number one threat to the Big Apple. Figure that out. You need to have electricity. Where are you going to get it?

  170. NDAA 2013: Congress approves domestic deceptive propagand
    Published: 22 May, 2012
    http://rt.com/usa/news/propaganda-us-smith-amendment-903/

    Excerpt:
    Reauthorizing the indefinite detention of US citizens without charge might be the scariest provision in next year’s defense spending bill, but it certainly isn’t the only one worth worrying about.

    An amendment tagged on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 would allow for the United States government to create and distribute pro-American propaganda within the country’s own borders under the alleged purpose of putting al-Qaeda’s attempts at persuading the world against Western ideals on ice. Former US representatives went out of there way to ensure their citizens that they’d be excluded from government-created media blasts, but two lawmakers currently serving the country are looking to change all that.

    Congressmen Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012” (H.R. 5736) last week during discussions for the NDAA 2013. It was voted on by the US House of Representatives to be included in next year’s defense spending bill, which was then voted on as a whole and approved. The amendment updates the antiquated Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987, essentially clarifying that the US State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors may “prepare, disseminate and use public diplomacy information abroad,” but while also striking down a long-lasting ban on the domestic dissemination in America. For the last several decades, the federal government has been authorized to use such tactics overseas to influence foreign support of America’s wars abroad, but has been barred from such strategies within the US. If next year’s NDAA clears the US Senate and is signed by President Obama with the Thornberry-Smith provision intact, then restrictions on propaganda being force-fed to Americans would be rolled back entirety.

    Both Congressmen Thornberry and Smith say that the amendment isn’t being pushed to allow for the domestic distribution of propaganda, but the actual text of the provision outlines that, if approved by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama, that very well could be the case.

  171. Rep. Smith on his controversial bills
    The Washington Democrat discusses his bills to ban domestic indefinite detention but allow domestic “propaganda”
    By Glenn Greenwald
    May 22, 2012
    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/22/rep_smith_on_his_controversial_bills/singleton/

    Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is the co-sponsor of two controversial amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act: one which would ban the use of indefinite detention for any accused Terrorist apprehended on U.S. soil (the House rejected that amendment earlier this week), and the other, as Michael Hastings first reported, which would repeal a long-standing prohibition under the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 on the dissemination inside the U.S. of State Department information campaigns (what the State Department calls “public diplomacy” and what others call “state propaganda”). Rep. Smith was my guest today on Salon Radio to discuss both of his proposed amendments, and the 15-minute interview, which heavily focuses on his Smith-Mundt proposal, can be heard on the player below (the Smith-Mundt discussion begins at 5:15).

    A few of points on the domestic propaganda issue that we discussed:

    (1) Rep. Smith claimed that legal prohibitions on the domestic dissemination of government propaganda apply only to the State Department, whereas other agencies (such as the Pentagon) are already free of such restrictions; I explained that I believed that was untrue, that there are clear legal frameworks in place barring the use of domestic propaganda by all agencies, and this (http://www.prwatch.org/node/7261) was what I was referencing;

    (2) Rep. Smith repeatedly insisted that his bill would not permit the domestic dssemination of any State Department program “intended to” influence public opinion inisde the U.S., but only ones intended for a foreign audience; aside from the impossibility of enforcing that distinction, I pointed out that the Press Release distributed by him and his GOP co-sponsor clearly argues that one reason this repeal was needed was to enable the State Department to influence public opinion among certain population segments within the U.S. The Press Release I referenced is here (http://thornberry.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=296108), and it states:

    Contemporary interpretations of the law interfere with a range of communications activities, including public diplomacy, military communication efforts, and emergency and disaster response activities. It has also led to inaccurate reporting by American media about issues affecting global security.

    For example, in 2009 the law prohibited a Minneapolis-based radio station with a large Somali-American audience from replaying a Voice of America-produced piece rebutting terrorist propaganda. Even after the community was targeted for recruitment by al-Shabab and other extremists, government lawyers refused the replay request, noting that Smith-Mundt tied their hands.

    If one of the problems this bill seeks to solve is the inability of the State Department to “rebut terrorist propaganda” by targeting U.S. citizens with its own information campaign, then, by definition, the bill seeks to allow the State Department to attempt to influence public opinion within the U.S.

    (3) This morning, Mother Jones published a piece defending this legislation. It was written by Adam Weinstein, a former Navy vet and ex-Iraq contractor who (as he acknowledged) himself wrote propagnada for the U.S. military in Iraq (what Weinstein calls “upbeat, if technically accurate, press releases for the US Army in Iraq”). Rep. Smith unsurprisingly touted this article (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/05/congress-propaganda), and it is here.

    Everyone can, and should, listen for themselves to Rep. Smith’s defense of the bill and decide if they are persuaded by his assurances that this bill would not legally empower the State Department to propagandize the U.S. citizenry directly.

    *****

    NOTE: I added the links to the articles that Greenwald referenced in his Salon article.

    Click on the link to Greenwald’s article to listen to Adam Smith’s defense of his amendment.

  172. Rachel Marsden: Are government’s ‘strategic communications’ coming to American airwaves?
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201205220930–tms–amvoicesctnav-a20120522-20120522,0,2900013.column

    Excerpt:
    Did you hear about the new bill that would allow the U.S. government’s official overseas information agency to rebroadcast its content onto American TV and radio? The bipartisan Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 was introduced in Congress last week by Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.), both of whom are presumably dissatisfied with their satellite TV package and think more government-produced content would go down better with an after-work beer.

    Not really. As Thornberry explains on his website: “While the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 was developed to counter communism during the Cold War, it is outdated for the conflicts of today. Effective strategic communication and public diplomacy should be front-and-center as we work to roll back al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among disaffected populations. … To do this, Smith-Mundt must be updated to bolster our strategic communications and public diplomacy capacity on all fronts and mediums — especially online.”

    I see. So the Smith-Mundt Act was strictly limited to countering communist propaganda overseas, because the idea of conducting government propaganda operations within a country at a time when Joseph Goebbels was a household name would have triggered post-traumatic stress. Thornberry says the legislation is uselessly dated because terrorism is now our main security threat, and it’s not just based overseas. So, he says, the federal government’s foreign-information services have to be able to reach terrorists where they live — and that means inside America.

    All right, and while we’re at it, why don’t I just submit verbatim copies of press releases I receive from various federal government departments so you can read them in this space each week? Government or otherwise, I don’t reflexively trust anything that anyone tells me. If someone said the sky was blue, I’d look out the window and ask two more people if it looked blue to them as well. It’s the very least of the media’s responsibilities.

    And I’m especially skeptical when I know that the source of any given information has an agenda. In the case of the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors and Voice of America information services, Thornberry describes the proposed domestic objective as “remov(ing) a barrier to more effective and efficient public diplomacy programs.”

    There’s certainly no barrier to anything online. The firewall is effectively limited to traditional media. Anything delivered as a pre-packaged item to the conventional media from the government or any other source should be vetted, tested, evaluated and packaged appropriately before being presented to a larger audience.

    Even when an event occurs overseas, as in the case Thornberry cites, whereby Sirius Satellite Radio couldn’t get the green light under the Smith-Mundt Act to carry live Voice of America broadcasts in the Creole language from the 2010 Haiti earthquake zone, I’m sure there are foreign correspondents, credible freelance journalists and other reliable independent analysts who would provide an adequate, objective take on events. If any of them prove inept or biased, then the free market will weed them out. Americans who are interested in such coverage will find the best alternative available to them. It’s not only unnecessary for the government to create legislation in order to insert itself into this domain, but also a slippery slope.

  173. Consider this: American Dollars on American Propaganda to Brainwash American Citizens
    Lisa Cerda
    05.21.2012
    http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/3181-consider-this-american-dollars-on-american-propaganda-to-brainwash-american-citizens

    Excerpt:
    VOICES – The National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) was passed by the House, on Friday afternoon, with a vote of 299-120. (77 Democrats and 222 Republicans voted FOR it). The hollow threats came early in the week, from the White House, to veto it. The White House can not distance itself from their bold and in your face agenda to strip away the constitutional rights of every American.

    The power grab began after 9/11, and has since escalated to a protracted crescendo.
    Very little has been reported on the amendment # 114 to the NDAA, an amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda, produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, on Americans.

    By striking the existing ban on domestic misinformation campaigns, Americans can expect to be programmed on an even greater scale than ever before. Many would argue that the most prolific misinformation campaign comes in the way of our American History books in our schools. Others would say it is the gag order fueled by corporate interests on our mainstream media.

    Sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State, the amendment nullifies or neutralizes the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987, meant to protect US audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

    You should take heart that this attack on American truth and justice, came from a “bipartisan” effort and a bipartisan fear of the power of the internet age.

    Thornberry could actually say with a straight face, that the Smith-Mundt Act and Foreign Relations Authorization Act “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.” It must be difficult to lie with “credibility” when at the touch of our latest hi-tech communication device, we can search out a more credible source of truth than that of the US government.

    The bill’s supporters say that new techniques are needed to help fight Al-Qaeda, while the critics of the bill say that a rigorous debate over such an important issue should have happened. “It removes the protection for Americans. It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.” says a Pentagon official who voiced concern about the law.

    Let’s scrutinize the expense of duping America. According to USA Today, the Pentagon spends nearly $4 billion a year to sway public opinion already. This is a world wide effort. Now a new cost will be incurred, keeping Americans misinformed.

    Could it be merely a coincidence that the bill was passed just prior to the NATO Summit? The arrest of three Occupy protestors, accused of manufacturing Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters as well as other sites, may not seem as plausible when you consider that the suspects, Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, N.H.; and, Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla. have no history of violence but law enforcement has a history of setting up organizers.

    Their attorney Michael Deutsch, said “This is just propaganda to create a climate of fear,” My clients came to peacefully protest. We believe this is all a setup and entrapment to the highest degree.”

  174. So, he says, the federal government’s foreign-information services have to be able to reach terrorists where they live — and that means inside America.
    ===========================================================
    Maybe the federal government’s so-called foreign-information services can get their heads out of their asses and prevent terrorists from flying jumbo jets into skyscrapers. But lets hold hands with the Saudi prince and kiss him on the cheek instead. What state did that happen in?

  175. Elaine: I was in Vicenzia, Italy last year- where we have a big military base and found the Voice of America on the car radio. They were playing the Rush Limbaugh Show.

    On one other program, the announcer was making really inappropriate false remarks about Obama and taxes, statements that were more inference than fact based. Truly weird.

    Wow, the great things that could be done with that $4 billion a year. The Pentagon just flushes our tax dollars down the toilet.

    And these entrapment programs are a total waste of money, just like they were in the 1960’s.
    We paid someone to watch and report on John Lennon, the Quakers and MLK, a ridiculous waste of time and money.

  176. anon nurse,

    I had heard about this story. I guess it’s okay to leak classified information for propaganda purposes–but not for the purpose of exposing government wrongdoing.

    BTW, I’m sure the break will be brief.

    *****

    shano,

    “Wow, the great things that could be done with that $4 billion a year. The Pentagon just flushes our tax dollars down the toilet.”

    That’s $4 billion that we know about. Isn’t it interesting the essential things our politicians claim the government doesn’t have adequate money for when it can blow billions on propaganda?

  177. Pentagon Contractor Admits To Perpetrating Online Smear Campaign Against USA Today Reporters
    By Adam Peck on May 24, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/05/24/490237/pentagon-contractor-admits-to-perpetrating-online-smear-campaign-against-usa-today-reporters/

    Excerpt:
    In April, two USA Today journalists claimed they were the victims of a deliberate “reputation attack” after they wrote a series of stories about the Pentagon’s contracts with groups that specialize in the production of propaganda. Days after the journalists began speaking with officials at the Pentagon and other sources for the story, fake websites and social media accounts set up in the names of the two reporters were mysteriously registered and began trying to discredit the stories.

    Camille Chidiac, the minority owner and former president of Leonie Industries, one of the consulting firms that works with the Pentagon and was featured prominently in USA Today’s reporting, took responsibility for the misinformation campaign. USA Today reports:

    “I take full responsibility for having some of the discussion forums opened and reproducing their previously published USA TODAY articles on them,” he said a statement released by his attorney, Lin Wood, of Atlanta.

    “I recognize and deeply regret that my actions have caused concerns for Leonie and the U.S. military. This was never my intention. As an immediate corrective action, I am in the process of completely divesting my remaining minority ownership from Leonie,” Chidiac said.

  178. Elaine,

    Valerie Plame was attacked because her husband reported that Iraq couldn’t have gotten any uranium. They couldn’t effectively attack her husband, so they went after her.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/28/AR2005102801172.html

    Scott Ritter, who was the major U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq for years, said that Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction. Then I saw a news report where he was accused of being a child molester.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11812.htm

  179. Matt,

    I remember those stories. Smear the whistleblowers and truth tellers. That’s one way the government warns other people it’s best to remain silent.

  180. Darren Smith, I’m going OT as well here, only because I know a nutritionist who has worked with my son (who has a serious chronic disease) and she has helped him immeasurably. You can get a BIG discount with her if you use my name, but my name is not on the blog. Her name, on the other hand, is Dana Laake and I am sure you can find her on google if you put the name into quotation marks together with the word “nutritionist.” I can e-mail her that you are a friend of mine for you to get the discount that way, however. Let me know if you’re interested and I can get it rolling, or you can e-mail me at:

    MalishaGarcia@hushmail.com

    Best luck —

  181. […] Originally, I drafted this article with a preface about the story Michael Hastings recently broke on BuzzFeed about an amendment to the latest defense authorization bill that would “legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences.” However, as I worked on it this morning, our very own poet laureate and research librarian extraordinaire Elaine Magliaro cut me off at the pass with her own excellent article on the subject.  So instead of repeating the points she makes which illustrate why understanding propaganda is important, I will refer you to her post at Res Ipsa Loquitur, “How about Some Government Propaganda for the People Paid for by the People Being Propagandized?“ […]

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